WASHINGTON —More minorities enrolled in U.S. medical schools this year, according to new data released today by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges). While total enrollment increased by 1.5 percent over 2009, to 18,665 students, all underrepresented racial and ethnic groups saw gains in 2010.
The most significant growth in minority students was in the percentage of Hispanic males who entered medical school this fall. Hispanic male enrollees increased by 17.1 percent, while Hispanic female enrollees increased by 1.6 percent from last year. Total Hispanic enrollment was up 9 percent. The total enrollment for black/African Americans grew by 2.9 percent over 2009. While the number of American Indians attending medical school is small, this year's enrollees grew by 24.8 percent. These diversity gains in enrollment were spread across all regions of the country. The largest increase was in the West, which saw underrepresented minority enrollment grow from 14.4 percent in 2009 to 16.1 percent this year.
"Improving the diversity of U.S. medical students will be a driver of excellence in our health care system," said AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D. "We are very encouraged that more minority students are pursuing a career in medicine, and hope that these strong gains continue in the years ahead."
This year's AAMC data also revealed that the total number of first-time applicants to medical school increased by 2.5 percent, to 31,834, over the 2009 total of 31,063.
"The growth in first-time applicants demonstrates that medicine is still a compelling career choice for many individuals. A strong and robust applicant pool is essential for medical schools to continue to expand enrollment, and work to address the nation's physician shortages," added Kirch.
The overall medical school applicant pool saw a slight increase again to 42,742 over the 2009 total of 42,269. The gender breakdown for both applicants and enrollees was 53 percent male versus 47 percent female. Except for a slight decrease in black/African American applicants (0.2 percent), applications from all underrepresented minority groups increased or remained steady.
Hispanic/Latino applicant numbers grew from 3,061 in 2009 to 3,271 in 2010, representing a 6.9 percent increase. The number of Hispanic male applicants grew by 15 percent, and the number of female Hispanic applicants remained the same as in 2009.
The total number of American Indian applicants increased by 9.5 percent. There were 379 applicants in 2009 and 415 this year.
Asian American applicants rose by 3.2 percent, while enrollees increased by 2.4 percent over 2009.
Male applicants (22,534) to U.S. medical schools continued to outnumber female applicants (20,207) in 2010.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) is a not-for-profit association representing all 133 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 62 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and nearly 90 academic and scientific societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC represents 128,000 faculty members, 75,000 medical students, and 110,000 resident physicians.