The Corner

Law & the Courts

Color-Coded Meds

Professor Mark J. Perry has posted some important data that show graphically (in both senses of the word) the extent to which racial preferences are used in medical-school admissions. “Bottom Line: Medical school acceptance rates in recent years suggest that medical schools must have ‘affirmative discrimination’ and ‘racial profiling’ admission policies that favor black and Hispanic applicants over equally qualified Asian and white students.”

And, as is almost always the case with university admissions (see numerous studies by the Center for Equal Opportunity here), race is weighed not lightly but heavily indeed:

‐ For students applying to medical school with slightly below average GPAs of 3.20 to 3.39 and slightly below average MCAT scores of 24 to 26 . . . , black applicants were more than 9 times more likely to be admitted to medical school than Asians (56.4% vs. 5.9%), and more than 7 times more likely than whites (56.4% vs. 8.0%). . . . Compared to the average acceptance rate of 16.7% for all applicants with that combination of GPA and MCAT score, black and Hispanic applicants were much more likely to be accepted at rates of 56.4% and 30.5%, and white and Asian applicants were much less likely to be accepted to US medical schools at rates of only 5.9% and 8.0% respectively.

‐ We find the same pattern of acceptance rates by ethnic/racial groups for applicants with slightly above average academic credentials. . . . For example, for applicants with MCAT scores of 30 to 32 (slightly above average) and GPAs between 3.40 to 3.59 (average) . . . , the acceptance rates for blacks (86.9%) and Hispanics (75.9%) were much higher than the acceptance rate for whites (48.0%) and Asians (40.3%) with those same academic credentials.

Professor Perry also notes, “Even if factors other than GPA and MCAT scores (which are probably the two most important ones) are considered for admission to medical school, wouldn’t it still be very hard to conclude that admissions policies to medical schools are completely ‘race-neutral’ and completely free of any ‘racial profiling’ practices that favor blacks and Hispanics over equally qualified Asians and whites?” Yes, professor, it would.

This discrimination is obviously a bad thing for the white and Asian students who were denied admission and now may not become doctors. It’s bad for patients who will not have doctors as good as they might have had otherwise. It’s bad for future medical research and teaching. And, because of the mismatch problem, it’s not even a good thing for many of the black and Latino students who do get admitted. This unfair and pernicious discrimination should stop.

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