Medical school admission process can perpetuate inequality: Editorial


When preparing medical school applications, many prospective students are encouraged to ensure they have clinical experiences such as physician shadowing, overseas health placements, or work experience as medical scribes. However, in an article for The Conversation, Janelle S Taylor (University of Toronto) and Claire Wendland (University of Wisconsin-Madison) explain that many of these clinical experiences can exacerbate inequalities. After conducting a study of medical school admissions processes, the authors found a variety of issues with these experiences: Physician shadowing opportunities are more regularly offered to privileged students; global health experiences can reinforce problematic narratives; and low-paying medical scribe positions can “contribute to exploiting a vulnerable labour force.” The writers conclude by calling on institutions to re-evaluate medical-school application processes and the emphasis placed on clinical experiences.

The Conversation