The Benefits of Diversity in Medical Schools
U.S. and Caribbean medical schools want more diversity. But why? We can’t speak for everyone (that would be weird), but AUA fosters a diverse academic community to benefit both students and global health in the following ways:
Students Become Well-Rounded Physicians
When you’re on call, you’ll have to treat patients and work with colleagues from many sociocultural backgrounds. Gaining a broader perspective now will help you avoid miscommunications later. A study from UCLA proves that attending a diverse medical school will make you a better, more empathetic physician. Through diversity comes greater understanding about patient needs. Plus, it’s so much easier to do your job when you understand a little more about your patient’s background.
Students Learn New Ways to Think
Having classmates with life experiences different than your own will help you approach a challenging case with a global mindset. Global thinking has been proven to increase innovation in the workplace and could be applied to problem-solving as well. For example, this study compared two teams of problem solvers, one randomly selected and one comprised of the individual best performers, and found that the randomly selected team’s diversity of perspectives helped them surpass the so-called best problem solvers.
Diverse Physicians May Increase Access in Underserved Areas
The physician shortage is real. In some rural areas in the U.S., patients wait hours (or days) for an appointment, not including the time it takes them to travel to the clinic. While medical school graduates tend to practice in areas that aren’t adversely affected by this shortage, many minority physicians practice in underserved areas where low-income and disadvantaged patients need treatment. More physicians of various backgrounds might be the best solution to combat this pronounced health disparity.
Students Have An Excellent Educational Experience
Diversity is the tide that lifts all boats, creating a more inclusive community and a more rewarding experience in medical school. By comparison, a less diverse community could be harmful for all students. When a university is predominantly one ethnicity, it makes minority students feel alienated and may lead to differential treatment from the majority. Luckily, if you’re coming to AUA, you won’t have to worry about that at all – more than half of our students come from diverse ethnicities.
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