Trends in U.S. MD-PhD Program Matriculant Diversity by Sex and Race/Ethnicity

Acad Med. 2022 Sep 1;97(9):1346-1350. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000004747. Epub 2022 May 17.


Purpose: To examine demographic characteristics of matriculants to U.S. MD-PhD programs by sex and race/ethnicity from academic years (AYs) 2009-2018 and explore the relationships between trends in the percentage of female and underrepresented minority (URM) matriculants to programs with and without Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) funding.

Method: Linear regression and time trend analysis of the absolute percentage of matriculants into all U.S. MD-PhD programs was performed for self-reported sex and race/ethnicity, using Association of American Medical Colleges data for AYs 2009-2018, including an interaction for MSTP funding status (yes/no) and year. Linear regression of the percentage of programs matriculating no female or no URM students between AYs 2009 and 2018 was performed, focusing on programs in the top 3 quartiles by size (i.e., those matriculating 4 or more students per year).

Results: Between AYs 2009 and 2018, the percentage of matriculants to all MD-PhD programs who were female (38.0%-46.0%, 1.05%/year, P = .002) or URM (9.8%-16.7%, 0.77%/year, P < .001) increased. The annual percentage gains of URM matriculants were greater at MSTP-funded programs compared with non-MSTP-funded programs (0.50%/year, P = .046). Moreover, among MD-PhD programs in the top 3 quartiles by size, the percentage of programs with no female matriculants decreased by 0.40% per year ( P = .02) from 4.6% in 2009 to 1.6% in 2018, and the percentage of programs with no URM matriculants decreased by 3.41% per year ( P < .001) from 49% in 2009 to 22% in 2018.

Conclusions: A consistent and sustained increase in the percentage of female and URM matriculants to MD-PhD programs from AYs 2009-2018 was observed, but the annual increases in the percentages across groups were small, and the demographics of the MD-PhD workforce still do not reflect the diversity of the U.S. general population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Ethnicity*
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups
  • Physicians*
  • United States
  • Workforce