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Consider Medical School Choice Carefully as a Minority Student

Experts say prospective students should look for schools that support ending health care disparities.

African-Americans are one of the most underrepresented races in medicine.
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Minority physicians are more likely to practice in underserved communities, according to a March 2013 report in the medical journal Academic Medicine.

"All groups, not just African-Americans, and all doctors, may find it better to work in settings or communities where patients are historically more informed, educated and prepared for the new health care changes," says Bailey.

Vela, who created a health disparities course at Pritzker to keep students engaged about challenges facing minorities, recalls meeting a Latino student in an incident that almost brought her to tears. The student intentionally shied away from joining the Latino Medical Student Association, telling Vela, "I wouldn't want people at my medical school to recognize that I was Latino."

"Not everybody is lucky enough to be at a medical school that supports diversity," Vela says. She offers some straightforward advice for students in similar situations: "It's time to join an institution where you'll be valued for your diversity."

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