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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 48-51

Enhancing medical student diversity through a premedical program: A Caribbean school case study

1 Medical Education Readiness Program, Adtalem Medical and Healthcare Education Group, Miramar, FL, USA
2 Biomedical Science Program, University of the Incarnate Word, School of Osteopathic Medicine, San Antonio, TX, USA
3 Department of Medicine, Ross University School of Medicine, Miramar, FL, USA

Correspondence Address:
Inna Lindner
2300 S.W. 145th Ave. Suite 132, Miramar, FL 33027
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.239047

Background: Physicians with backgrounds underrepresented in medicine (URiM) are more likely to practice in underserved communities. Recruitment into and assistance during medical education has the potential to increase the number of URiM physicians. This study analyzes URiM students' academic performance at a well-established Caribbean school with and without prior successful completion of the Medical Education Readiness Program (MERP). Methods: A retrospective analysis of premedical school requirements and achievements in medical school were performed for URiM students enrolled in Ross University School of Medicine between 2006 and 2012, through either MERP or direct admission. For MERP and non-MERP students, an independent sample two-tailed Student t-test was used to compare prerequisite Grade Point Average (p GPA), Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), and The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 scores. Chi-square analysis was performed to compare the attrition rates for MERP and non-MERP URiM students in the first years of medical schools well as USMLE Step 1 pass rates. Results: A total of 1299 students entering medical school directly (n = 981) or through MERP (n = 318) were evaluated. The mean MCAT (19.6 for MERP vs. 21.6 for non-MERP, P < 0.001) and prerequisite GPA (2.8 for MERP vs. 3.1 for non-MERP, P < 0.001) were significantly lower for the MERP students. A similar percentage of MERP and non-MERP students reached the 2nd year (83.0% and 80.9% respectively, P = 0.407) and 3rd year (80.5% and 79.0% respectively, P = 0.565) of medical school. USMLE Step 1 pass rates for MERP (90.6%) and non-MERP (92.3%) as well as USMLE Step 1 mean scores (208.9 and 210.0 for MERP and non-MERP, respectively) were also comparable. Discussion: MERP-like programs can help URiM students with lower undergraduate scores succeed in medical school.

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