URM in Medicine

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AAMC DEFINITION OF UNDERREPRESENTED IN MEDICINE (URM) 

"Underrepresented in medicine means those racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the medical profession relative to their numbers in the general population." This lens currently includes students who identify as African Americans and/or Black, Hispanic/Latino, Native American (American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians), Pacific Islander, and mainland Puerto Rican. The definition also refers to students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

There was a time, not so long ago, when admission to college and to professional schools was limited by race, sex, national origin, and religion. The civil rights movement of the 1960s eventually ended the more visible racial and ethnic barriers, but today, racial and ethnic minorities are still underrepresented in the health professions in America. 

And members of these populations are more likely to receive lower quality of care, experience higher rates of illness and disability, and die at earlier ages than members of the white population (IOM, 2003; PHR, 2003).  The IOM recommends increasing the number of minority health professionals as a key strategy to eliminating health disparities. 

In particular, Black men make up less than 3% of physicians, and the number of Black men enrolled in medical school decreased from 1978 to 2014.  

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Med School Chart

With the predicted shortage of physicians and the changing demographics of the patient population, it’s even more critical to provide greater access to care for a more diverse patient population. The benefits of diversity in medical school have been shown to enhance the educational experience of medical students and support positive attitudes about diversity.  

Click here to read about how UNMC is responding to increase the number and diversity of future health care providers and researchers.

See below for more information on data of applicants and matriculants to medical school, the history of medical education, and the evidence for a diverse student body: