Discriminatory Medical School Admissions

Mark Perry, an economist at the University of Michigan, Flint, and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, presents compelling evidence of heavy thumbs on the racial scale in medical school admissions (HatTip: Linda Seebach).

Read his entire post, but this is his summary of the aggregated data from the American Association of Medical Colleges for the years 2009 – 2011 :

•  For applicants with average GPA and MCAT scores, “black applicants were almost three times more likely to be admitted than their Asian counterparts (85.9% vs. 30%), and 2.4 times more likely than their white counterparts (85.9% vs. 35.9%).  Likewise, Hispanic students with average GPAs and average MCAT scores were about twice as likely to be accepted as white applicants (68.7% vs. 35.9%), and more than twice as likely as Asian applicants (68.7% vs. 30%).”

•  For applicants with “slightly below” average GPAs and MCAT scores, “black applicants were more than 8 times as likely to be admitted as Asians (67.3% vs. 7.7%), and more than 5 times as likely as whites.”

“Even if factors other than GPA and MCAT scores (which are probably the two most important ones) are considered for admission to medical school,” Perry quite reasonably asks, “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 preferences?”

The data do not allow conclusions about particular medical schools, but if the numbers at any in California, Washington, or Michigan reflect these national averages they are almost certainly violating their state constitutions, which specifically prohibit preferential treatment for or discrimination against anyone based on race or ethnicity.

ADDENDUM [16 Feb.]

A reader emailed me the following excerpt from Thomas Sowell, A Personal Odyssey, p. 203, recounting a 1968 conversation Sowell had with the dean of a leading medical school.

“I was glad to hear you say what you did,” he began. “Makes me feel I’m not alone.”

“Do you have the same kind of attitudes at your school that we saw there in the meeting room today?” I asked.

“Very much so,” he said. “After the assassination of Martin Luther King, some of our faculty members came to me and said, ‘We think what we ought to do at a time like this is admit a dozen or so black students to our medical school immediately, to begin in the fall.’ When I asked, ‘Where do you expect me to get qualified black students in May, after they have all been snapped up by other places?’ they said, ‘Don’t you worry about their being qualified. You just get them in here, and we will see that they graduate.’”

“How can they see that the students graduate?” I asked.

“Well, they give out the grades.”

I was too stunned to say anything for a moment. But then I asked: “Do they plan to send their children to be operated on by these ‘doctors’ that they maneuver through medical school?”


“Then why should my children be operated on by such doctors?”

“That’s the kind of argument I used with them — and I held them off, this year. How many more years they can be stopped from doing this is another story.”

Say What?