Context: Increasing the number of minority physicians is a long-standing goal of professional associations and government.
Objective: To determine the effectiveness of an intensive summer educational program for minority college students and recent graduates on the probability of acceptance to medical school.
Design: Nonconcurrent prospective cohort study based on data from medical school applications, Medical College Admission Tests, and the Association of American Medical Colleges Student and Applicant Information Management System.
Setting: Eight US medical schools or consortia of medical schools.
Participants: Underrepresented minority (black, Mexican American, mainland Puerto Rican, and American Indian) applicants to US allopathic medical schools in 1997 (N =3830), 1996 (N = 4654), and 1992 (N =3447).
Intervention: The Minority Medical Education Program (MMEP), a 6-week, residential summer educational program focused on training in the sciences and improvement of writing, verbal reasoning, studying, test taking, and presentation skills.
Main outcome measure: Probability of acceptance to at least 1 medical school.
Results: In the 1997 medical school application cohort, 223 (49.3%) of 452 MMEP participants were accepted compared with 1406 (41.6%) of 3378 minority nonparticipants (P= .002). Positive and significant program effects were also found in the 1996 (P=.01) and 1992 (P=.005) cohorts and in multivariate analysis after adjusting for nonprogrammatic factors likely to influence acceptance (P<.001). Program effects were also observed in students who participated in the MMEP early in college as well as those who participated later and among those with relatively high as well as low grades and test scores.
Conclusions: The MMEP enhanced the probability of medical school acceptance among its participants. Intensive summer education is a strategy that may help improve diversity in the physician workforce.