Survey Finds Persisting Mistreatment of African American Medical School Students

A new study lead by researchers at the Yale School of Medicine finds that more than one third of medical students reported experiencing at least one episode of mistreatment by faculty, peers, or clinical staff. Mistreatment included discrimination, assault, verbal abuse, and sexual harassment. The most common form of mistreatment expressed by medical students was public humiliation in front of peers.

More than 27,000 students at 140 medical schools in the United States were surveyed in 2016 or 2017. Students from underrepresented minorities reported a higher prevalence of mistreatment and discrimination based on race/ethnicity than White students. Women of color reported the highest level of mistreatment.

Katherine Hill, a second-year medical student and lead author of the study, told the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Women and minorities are already underrepresented in the medical profession. These missed opportunities from mistreatment can accumulate over a lifetime and contribute to keeping those people out of the medical field.”

The full study, “Assessment of the Prevalence of Medical Student Mistreatment by Sex, Race/Ethnicity, and Sexual Orientation,” was published on the website of JAMA Internal Medicine. It may be accessed here.

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  1. Thank you Ms Hill for your interest in this article and publishing it for a review I currently have a sophomore daughter looking to enter into the medical field with hopes of one day becoming a surgeon, forensic scientist, or medical examiner. ‍ As hard as it is for us as minorities to gain higher stature in education, I can imagine what it’s like in the fields of STEM. We need better to can get better, we need advocates & mentors to disparage these barriers going forward.

  2. It is more than disheartening to read of the continuing discrimination encountered by African American students at America’s medical schools. My own experience at Albert Einstein College of Medicine(class of 1992) was not only cruel, humiliating and caused such lasting damage such that I will still refuse to return to the campus or attend reunions. I’m of the opinion that the intransigence of the medical establishment’s racism will never be resolved and so, Black students should avoid White medical schools as best they can if they wish to meet their potential as physicians, as servants of humanity and successful
    professionals. Black students should be filling HBCU medical schools and shun the pernicious and sickening actions they all will find at majority schools.

    • My son is graduating from an HBCU and doesn’t want to attend one for medical school because of the poor living conditions and lack of resources. Did you attend one as an undergrad?

    • I’m an incoming first year medical student at Meharry Medical College and my suspicion was that I should avoid White medical schools as best I could. Thank you for confirming that suspicion. I was thinking that in 4 years that I might apply for a psychiatry residency at Albert Einstein/Montefiore as I’m from N.Y. and would like to go home, but reading this has definitely given me pause. Should it give me pause? Should I seek to do a psychiatry residency at my alma mater, Howard University, instead of Einstein/Montefiore?

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