Projected Estimates of African American Medical Graduates of Closed Historically Black Medical Schools

Kendall M. Campbell, Irma Corral, Jhojana L. Infante Linares, Dmitry Tumin

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Abstract

Importance: There continue to be low numbers of underrepresented minorities, including African Americans, in academic medicine. Historically Black medical colleges and universities are major sources of training for medical school graduates who are African American or who belong to other underrepresented minority groups. Several historically Black medical schools were closed during the period surrounding the 1910 Flexner report. The implications of these school closures with regard to the number of African American medical school graduates have not been fully examined. Objective: To examine the consequences associated with the closure of historically Black medical schools for the number of African American medical school graduates. Design, Setting, and Participants: This observational economic evaluation used steady expansion and rapid expansion models to estimate the consequences associated with the closure of historically Black medical schools for the number of African American medical school graduates. The numbers of graduates from 13 historically Black medical schools that are now closed were obtained through historical records. Data on historically Black medical schools that are currently open were obtained from school-specific reports and reports published by the Association of American Medical Colleges. The study focused on projected estimates of outcomes from the hypothetical continued operation and expansion of 5 closed historically Black medical schools that were included in the Flexner report: Flint Medical College of New Orleans University, Knoxville Medical College, Leonard Medical School of Shaw University, Louisville National Medical College, and the University of West Tennessee College of Medicine and Surgery-Memphis. Main Outcomes and Measures: The main outcome was the estimate of the number of African American students who would have graduated from historically Black medical schools that were closed during the period surrounding the 1910 Flexner report. Results: Among the 5 historically Black medical schools that were closed, the estimated mean number of graduates per year was 5.27 students at Flint Medical College, 2.60 students at Knoxville Medical College, 11.06 students at Leonard Medical School, 4.17 students at Louisville National Medical College, and 6.74 students at the University of West Tennessee. If the 5 closed historically Black medical schools had remained open, the steady expansion and rapid expansion models indicated that these schools might have collectively provided training to an additional 27 773 graduates and 35 315 graduates, respectively, between their year of closure and 2019. In the analysis of Leonard Medical School and the University of West Tennessee only, the steady expansion and rapid expansion models indicated that these 2 schools would have provided training to an additional 10587 graduates and 13 403 graduates, respectively, between their year of closure and 2019. An extrapolation based on the racial and ethnic self-identification of current graduates of historically Black medical schools indicated that if these closed schools had remained open, the number of graduating African American physicians might have increased by 355 individuals (29%) in 2019 alone. Conclusions and Relevance: To increase the number of African American medical school graduates, consideration should be given to creating medical education programs at historically Black colleges and universities. Such programs may start with small enrollment but could have positive consequences for the diversity of the physician workforce..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2015220
JournalJAMA network open
Volume3
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 20 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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