Black medical students in US have heaviest debts, study finds

Black medical students in U.S. have heaviest debts, study finds
This discrepancy may explain enrollment declines.

(HealthDay)—Black medical school students are more likely to be saddled with large education-related debts than students from other racial or ethnic groups, and this discrepancy may help explain the declining number of black students in American medical schools, a new study indicates.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 2,300 medical at 111 U.S. medical schools in 2010 and 2011, and found that 62 percent of them anticipated having an education debt of more than $150,000.

The proportion of black students who expected to have such a large amount of debt was about 77 percent, compared with 65 percent of whites, 57 percent of Hispanics and 50 percent of Asians, according to the study, which was published recently online in the journal PLoS One.

"The finding that black had significantly higher anticipated debt than Asian students has implications for understanding differential enrollment among minority groups in U.S. medical schools," senior study author Dr. Sandro Galea, professor and chairman of the department of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, said in a university news release.

Since 2004, the number of black students in medical schools has fallen, while enrollment of Hispanic and Asian students continues to rise. In 2010 and 2011, the researchers said, 60 percent of medical-school students were white, 21 percent were Asian, 7 percent were Hispanic and 6 percent were black.

Compared with the overall U.S. population, the proportion of Asian students in medical schools is 75 percent higher, while the proportion of black students is more than 100 percent lower.

High medical-school debt can thwart efforts to have a diverse physician workforce that reflects the general population, the researchers said.

"Our work suggests that the burden of medical-student debt is substantial, and that the distribution of debt across race and ethnicity is disproportionate," Galea said. "With black students reporting higher debt burdens than their counterparts from other racial and ethnic backgrounds, it is plausible that this disproportionate burden may play a role in the relative decline in attendance among ."

More information: The American Medical Association has more about medical school.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Med school enrollment on rise in 2012

Oct 26, 2012

(HealthDay)—The number and diversity of students applying to and enrolling in medical schools in the United States increased this year, new data shows.

Recommended for you

Cold cash just keeps washing in from ALS challenge

Aug 28, 2014

In the couple of hours it took an official from the ALS Association to return a reporter's call for comment, the group's ubiquitous "ice bucket challenge" had brought in a few million more dollars.

Medtronic spends $350M on another European deal

Aug 27, 2014

U.S. medical device maker Medtronic is building stronger ties to Europe, a couple months after announcing a $42.9 billion acquisition that involves moving its main executive offices across the Atlantic, where it can get a ...

Mind over matter for people with disabilities

Aug 26, 2014

People with serious physical disabilities are unable to do the everyday things that most of us take for granted despite having the will – and the brainpower – to do so. This is changing thanks to European ...

Ukraine's former world's tallest man dies

Aug 25, 2014

Ukraine's tallest man, who briefly held the world record but gave it up to live as a recluse, has died due to complications from the condition that saw him never stop growing, local media reported Monday.

User comments