Amid the coronavirus pandemic, medical schools are reporting a record increase in first-year Black students.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, Black medical student enrollment has increased by 21% in the past year.
Currently, African-Americans account for just 5% of the entire physician population nationally, though about 14% of the general U.S. population.
Tufts’ 2025 class has a total of 195 members, 26 of those students identify as Black or African American — a major jump from 9 the year before.
Michellene Davis, CEO of National Medical Fellowships (NMF), said the boost in Black med-school enrollment is likely the result of the family members lost to COVID-19, as well as an increase in awareness about the structural inequities that exist in the health care system.
To address health disparities afflicting Black people, Norma Poll-Hunter, who leads workforce diversity efforts at the Association of Medical Colleges, told NPR, more medical schools are adjusting their admissions procedures, looking beyond test scores and waiving application fees, allowing more students to interview remotely and considering race when deciding which students to admit.
Having a more equitable representation of caregivers is just one step in the right direction.