Enrichment programs for undergraduate college students intended to increase the representation of minorities in medicine

Acad Med. 1998 Mar;73(3):299-312. doi: 10.1097/00001888-199803000-00019.


The authors reviewed the literature published from 1966 to 1996 to identify enrichment programs for underrepresented minority college students sponsored by medical schools and affiliated programs, finding 20 such programs. The programs reported in the literature underestimate the number and variety of programs known to exist by about two thirds. The authors categorized the reported programs according to the types of components they contained. Most programs contained more than one component type. Eighteen of the programs had an academic enrichment component. Thirteen programs included components focused on preparation for the admission process. Mentoring activities were a component of only four of the programs. Eighteen of the 20 programs were evaluated in the literature. The largest focus of evaluation activities was the success of program participants entering medical school. While the medical school matriculation rate was quite high, these results were difficult to interpret as the studies did not use control groups. The evaluations could not demonstrate, therefore, that the programs were responsible for increased admission of minorities to medical schools. Relatively few studies measured the immediate effects of the programs' efforts. Further, there was even less evidence of which program components in particular were effective. A more public and energetic discussion of these programs in the medical education literature is essential. In a political and social environment that calls for accountability, programs must be able to clearly and truthfully declare what they have accomplished. Without this type of public discussion, enrichment programs for underrepresented minorities may continue to appear to be worthwhile endeavors, but lacking solid support and foundation and vulnerable to losing funding.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

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