Recruitment of underrepresented minority students to medical school: minority medical student organizations, an untapped resource

J Natl Med Assoc. 2007 Sep;99(9):1000-4, 1008-9.


Recruitment of more underrepresented minority students (black, Hispanic and native American) to increase racial diversity in the physician workforce is on the agenda for medical schools around the nation. The benefits of having a racially diverse class are indisputable. Minority physicians are more likely to provide care to minority, underserved, disadvantaged and low-income populations. Therefore, medical schools would benefit from diversity through utilizing strategies for recruitment of underrepresented minority (URM) students. Numerous recruitment strategies have been employed to increase the number of underrepresented minority students. However, formal collaboration with minority medical student organizations is an underutilized tool in the recruitment process. Many medical schools have informally used minority medical students and members of various minority organizations on campus in the recruitment process, but a formal collaboration which entails a strategic approach on using minority medical student organizations has yet to be included in the literature. This paper discusses the innovative collaboration between the University of Toledo College of Medicine (UTCOM) chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) and the college of medicine's admissions office to strategize a recruitment plan to increase the number of underrepresented minority students at the UTCOM. This paper suggests that minority medical student organizations, particularly the SNMA, can be used as a recruiting tool; hence, admissions offices cannot negate the usefulness of having formal involvement of minority medical student organizations as a recruiting tool. This approach may also be applicable to residency programs and other graduate professional fields with a severe shortage of URM students.

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / education*
  • Career Choice*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Hispanic Americans / education*
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / education*
  • Ohio
  • Personnel Selection / methods*
  • Personnel Selection / statistics & numerical data
  • Schools, Medical / organization & administration*
  • Societies, Medical*
  • Students, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States