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Academic performance of ethnic minorities in medical school

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 19 August 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1094
  1. Phyllis Carr, associate dean for student affairs,
  2. Jonathon Woodson, associate dean for diversity
  1. 1Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02493, USA
  1. plcarr{at}

    May be adversely affected by negative stereotyping

    Increasing the number of doctors in the workforce who come from minority groups has been proposed as a way to tackle the health disparities of minority populations. Several themes have arisen regarding the education of such doctors, including low numbers of students from ethnic minorities applying for medical school, worse prior preparation in the sciences and humanities, and underachievement in their medical education.1

    The qualitative study by Woolf and colleagues (doi: 10.1136/bmj.a1220) provides important insights into one aspect that affects clinical education in the United Kingdom—how ethnic stereotyping can add to a downward trend in performance.2 This reflects findings on how race affects the evaluation of African-American students in the United States, including the nature of the student-teacher interaction and the biases that may affect the evaluation of students and the educational process.1 Differences in the expectations and treatment of students that stem …

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