California Medical Schools Continue To Have Low Enrollment Among Minority Students
Minorities continue to be underrepresented at University of California medical schools, according to a report from the Greenlining Institute, New America Media reports.
According to Hector Javier Preciado, director of health policy at the Greenlining Institute, the report finds that Hispanics, African-Americans and American Indians account for 40% of California's population but comprise 20% of students at UC medical schools. He noted that while Asian-Americans as a whole are not underrepresented in the UC system, certain groups such as Hmongs and other Southeast Asians are underrepresented.
Even if UC admitted only students from the underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, Preciado said it would take 38 years for the physician population to match the diversity of the general population in California. He said, "The physician and patient relation is a very intimate one and as you would imagine one would feel more comfortable and more inclined to be honest about one's health if there was a rapport, and we know that cultural similarities help establish that."
Preciado said, "What happened is the steep decline in the number of the minorities getting in to the medical school. Proposition 209 punched the major hole in that pipeline. And a lot of people did not get to the point where they could be physicians, or where they could enter the medical school." Until 1996, when Proposition 209 was approved, schools employed affirmative action programs (Basilaia, New America Media, 7/22).
The report is available online.