The 17,759 students entering medical school this year represent a 2.3% increase over last year and constitute the largest class ever, according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges, but questions remain about whether it will be enough to stave off projected physician workforce shortages, and about what can be done to promote more ethnic diversity.
Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans made up 28.8% of the U.S. population in 2006, butaccording to an AAMC news releasepeople in these three groups made up only 14.6% of medical school graduates and account for only 6% of practicing physicians. The AAMC reported that the number of black males who were accepted by medical schools increased 5.3% but the rate for Hispanic males stayed the same as 2006.
Meanwhile enrollment for black and Hispanic females declined 5.6% and 1.2% from 2006, but an AAMC spokeswoman said that enrollment for both groups was higher in 2007 than it was in 2005.
This falls class of first-year medical students includes 9,177 men (51.7%) and 8,582 women (48.3%).
The AAMC also reported that this years class had the highest Medical College Admission Test scores and cumulative grade-point averages on record. Over the past five years, the AAMC reported, there has also been an increase in applicants experience in premedical activities such as medical research and community service in clinical settings. -- by Andis Robeznieks
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