This report aims to understand the reasons for the decline in black male applicants and enrollees in medical school since 1978. It draws from interviews with black pre-medical students, physicians, researchers, and leaders, as well as research and data regarding black male education and involvement in STEM fields. The major themes identified from these sources include unequal K-12 educational opportunities, the absence of mentors or role models in medicine, public perceptions of black men, career attractiveness, and lack of financial resources.
- In 1978, 1,410 Black males applied to medical school; in 2014, this figure dropped to 1,337. Similarly, the number of Black males matriculating into medical school dropped from 542 to 515 over the same period of time.
- Compared with the proportions of practicing physicians who are male in other racial and ethnic groups in the U.S., the proportion for Black males is the lowest.
- African-American men represented only 2 percent of male full-time faculty at MD-granting institutions.
- The most commonly noted challenge was bias and stereotyping related to the Black male experience. Experiencing and internalizing these biases affected education and career pursuits.
- The costs of medical school may be a deterrent; in 2014, 41.9 percent of Black male medical school graduates had upwards of $200,000 in education debt.
- Building stronger partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is pivotal to any strategy addressing this issue, as HBCUs are among the most active feeder institutions to medical schools.