Why HBCU Medical Schools May Be Better for Aspiring Black Physicians

A new study by researchers at Harvard Medical School, the University of Central Arkansas, and Northwestern University, finds that Black medical students attending historically Black medical schools report a greater sense of belonging and greater confidence in their scholastic abilities than those in predominantly White medical schools.

Researchers surveyed a large group of Black medical students three times during their second year of medical school. In addition to finding a greater sense of belonging, the study found that HBCU students reported more confidence about being accepted into a top 10 residency program.

“Our findings suggest that Black medical students in PWI schools may experience greater everyday discrimination relative to their HBCU peers that leads to reduced perceptions of their ability to succeed within medical school,” said Sylvia Perry, an associate professor of psychology at Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University, and the study’s senior researcher.

“We believe that it is important for predominantly White institutions to signal a commitment and make efforts to increase diversity among trainees and faculty,” Dr. Perry said. “Simply increasing the number of students and faculty of color is not enough. These institutions should also focus on increasing underrepresented medical students’ sense of belonging by making the reduction of bias and discrimination explicit priorities. Medical schools must create an environment in which all students can thrive and feel safe.”

A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Dr. Perry completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of North Texas in Denton. She earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in social psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The full study, “Black Medical Students’ Sense of Belonging and Confidence in Scholastic Abilities at Historically Black vs Predominantly White Medical Schools: a Prospective Study,” was published on the website of the Journal of General Internal Medicine. It may be accessed here.

Related Articles


  1. No need for this study politically correct study. Native born Black American students perform better across the spectrum at HBCU medical schools because they don’t have to deal with institutional and structural racism academically, administratively, and collegially. Further, at the HWCUs medical schools, native born Black American medical students have to deal with their White, Asian, and Latino daily racial proclivities which impact their medical intellectual development. Besides, this is not new to those HWCUs medical school based upon their historical and current mistreatment of native born Black American medical students.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Report Established by State Senator Art Haywood Uncovers Racism in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education

"Ultimately, Pennsylvania's leaders and institutions should respect the dignity of all students," says Senator Art Haywood. "The work to ensure that dignity is intact for Pennsylvania's Students of Color continues with this report in hopes that one day the work will no longer be required."

Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman Appointed President of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine

"I appreciate the support I have received from my faculty and trainee colleagues here at UC San Diego along with colleagues from around the world," says Dr. Gyamfi-Bannerman. "Together we will work to advance our field and our reach, improving patient outcomes and eliminating health disparities."

Rate of Black Homeownership in America Remains Virtually Unchanged Since 2012

The National Association of Realtors has found that although homeownership rates in American are steadily increasing, the rate of Black homeownership has experienced significantly less growth than White, Asian, and Hispanic homeownership since 2012.

Safiya George Named President of the University of the Virgin Islands

“As a servant leader, I am confident I will be an effective President for the University of the Virgin Islands and will remain humble and grounded with a sincere desire to improve outcomes and the lives of students, faculty, staff, and the community," says Safiya George, who will assume the role of president of the University of the Virgin Islands this summer.

Featured Jobs