Racial disparities in the way students pay for medical education
Interview with MedicalResearch.com with:
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background of this study? What are the main conclusions? & What should readers take away from your report?
Reply: Funding for medical schools is an opaque and important topic because the cost of attending medical schools has risen much faster than inflation for decades. During the same period, the racial wealth gap widened. We found significant differences in how students from different socio-economic and racial / ethnic backgrounds plan to pay for their medical education at the time of enrollment. Family or personal funding is much more common for higher income students. Among black students, family or personal funding was significantly lower than that of other racial / ethnic groups, which could be a reflection of the wealth gap – which is rooted in structural racism.
This can create educational disparities as the field becomes more and more diverse racially, ethnically and socio-economically; there are many costs besides tuition and living that may be considered ‘variable’ or ‘non-essential’ but necessary for a high quality education, including expensive counseling preparation materials and transportation during clinical internships. Additionally, the glaring family finance deficit may be one of the reasons black students currently report the highest debt burden of any racial / ethnic group.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Reply: Future research should examine how differentiated funding methods affect outcomes such as burnout, financial health, quality of education, and career decision making.
MedicalResearch.com: Would you like to add anything else?
Reply: We hope these findings open the door to more conversations about how students pay for medical schools, because if costs continue to rise as they have, funding disparities can exacerbate racial financial disparities. and socio-economic existing between the trainees.
Shahriar AA, Sagi V, Castañón-Gonzalez LA, Kottke TE, Vazquez-Benitez G, Crichlow R. Comparison of medical school funding plans among U.S. medical students enrolled from 2017 to 2019. JAMA Netw Open. 2021; 4 (7): e2117704. doi: 10.1001 / jamanetworkopen.2021.17704
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