Precollege enrichment programs intended to increase the representation of minorities in medicine

Acad Med. 1998 Mar;73(3):288-98. doi: 10.1097/00001888-199803000-00018.


The authors reviewed the literature published from 1966 to 1996 to identify enrichment programs for underrepresented minority precollege students sponsored by medical schools and affiliated programs, finding 19 articles describing 27 programs. The authors categorized the reported programs according to the components they contained. Most programs contained more than one component type. Twenty-four programs had an academic enhancement component. Two thirds had a motivational component to encourage students to consider medical and other health careers. Two programs set up mentoring relationship between students and health professionals. There were four research apprenticeships and three academic partnerships between medical schools and local school districts. Twelve of the 27 programs were evaluated in the literature. Eight evaluations focused on identifying the numbers of students who continued their education into college and professional schools. Five programs reported participant satisfaction or identified other short-term outcomes such as gains on standardized tests. While the percentage of participants completing college and entering health care careers is impressive, the authors do not believe that the educational success of participants can be attributed to involvement in these programs. The authors recommend ways to improve the quality and interpretability of enrichment program evaluations. Evaluators should adopt common terminology for activities and outcomes. Participants' economic and educational disadvantages should be described. Programs' theoretical underpinnings should be identified and related to evaluation. Measures should include immediate effects as well as long-term outcomes. Where possible, data from comparison groups should be reported to support conclusions. Adequate funding needs to be available to design and complete reasonable evaluations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical*
  • Education, Premedical / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Mentors / statistics & numerical data
  • Minority Groups* / psychology
  • Motivation
  • Program Evaluation
  • Research
  • Schools
  • United States