Racial bias affects where med students choose to practice, study finds

Medical students with negative racial attitudes are less likely to choose to practice in minority or underserved areas, according to a study published Aug. 1 in Academic Medicine.

The study's authors analyzed repeated-measures data from a longitudinal study of 3,756 students at 49 U.S. medical schools collected from 2010 to 2014. They estimated the effects of racism in several areas, such as school curricula/policies and student attitudes, on first- and fourth-year medical students’ intentions to practice in underserved or minority areas.

They found students with more negative explicit racial attitudes were less likely to intend to practice with underserved and minority populations. Students who participated in service learning and curricula focused on minority health were more likely to intend to practice in these communities.

The study demonstrates a need for identifying and eliminating structural racism in medical school, the authors wrote.

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