Altering the Course: Black Males In Medicine

Aug 3, 2015

This report aims to understand the reasons for the decline in Black male applicants and enrollees in medical school since 1978. It draws from interviews with Black pre-medical students, physicians, researchers, and leaders, as well as research and data regarding Black male education and involvement in STEM fields. The major themes identified from these sources include unequal K-12 educational opportunities, the absence of mentors or role models in medicine, public perceptions of Black men, career attractiveness, and lack of financial resources.
  • In 1978, 1,410 Black males applied to medical school; in 2014, this figure dropped to 1,337. Similarly, the number of Black males matriculating into medical school dropped from 542 to 515 over the same period of time.
  • Compared with the proportions of practicing physicians who are male in other racial and ethnic groups in the U.S., the proportion for Black males is the lowest.
  • African-American men represented only 2 percent of male full-time faculty at MD-granting institutions.
  • The most commonly noted challenge was bias and stereotyping related to the Black male experience. Experiencing and internalizing these biases affected education and career pursuits.
  • The costs of medical school may be a deterrent; in 2014, 41.9 percent of Black male medical school graduates had upwards of $200,000 in education debt.
  • Building stronger partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is pivotal to any strategy addressing this issue, as HBCUs are among the most active feeder institutions to medical schools.