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Affirmative Action Bans Cut Percent of Underrepresented Med Students

Percentage of students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups reduced with state affirmative action bans

MONDAY, May 2, 2022 (HealthDay News) — State affirmative action bans are associated with a reduction in the percentage of students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups at U.S. public medical schools, according to a study published online May 3 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Dan P. Ly, M.D., Ph.D., from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined the association between state affirmative action bans and the percentage of enrollment from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in U.S. public medical schools. A total of 21 public medical schools in eight states with affirmative action bans were matched to 32 public medical schools in 24 states without bans from 1985 to 2019.

The researchers found that in the year before ban implementation, in states with bans, the percentage of enrollment from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups was 14.8 percent in U.S. public medical schools. Relative to the year before implementation, in the five years after ban implementation, the adjusted percentage of underrepresented students in ban schools decreased by 4.8 percentage points; in control schools, the adjusted percentage increased by 0.7 percentage points, for a relative difference (difference-in-differences estimate) of −5.5 percentage points.

“State affirmative action bans were associated with significant reductions in the percentage of students in U.S. public medical schools from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups,” the authors write.

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