The history of medical education: a commentary on race

J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2021 Feb 1;121(2):163-170. doi: 10.1515/jom-2020-0212.


The institution of medicine was built on a foundation of racism and segregation, the consequences of which still permeate the experiences of Black physicians and patients. To predict the future direction of medical inclusivity, we must first understand the history of medicine as it pertains to race, diversity, and equity. In this Commentary, we review material from publicly available books, articles, and media outlets in a variety of areas, including undergraduate medical education and professional medical societies, where we found an abundance of policies and practices that created a foundation of systemic racism in medical training that carried through the career paths of Black physicians. The objective of this Commentary is to present the history of race in the medical education system and medical society membership, acknowledge the present state of both, and offer concrete solutions to increase diversity in our medical community.