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LHS+ medical students continue to face discrimination, according to LMSA findings

By AOA Staff


The Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA), the nation’s largest and oldest organization for the advancement of Latina/o/x/e, Hispanic or of Spanish origin (LHS+) identified medical students, has shared the results of a national needs assessment focused on documenting the experiences of discrimination faced by LHS+ identified medical students applying to residency programs.

The needs assessment was designed with the goal of determining the degree to which LHS+ identified matriculants of AOA- and LCME-accredited medical schools on the U.S. mainland and in Puerto Rico encounter discriminatory practices during the residency application process.

Needs assessment findings

A high proportion of LHS+ identified medical students, irrespective of medical school location, reported hearing from upper-class persons that they experienced offensive questions or comments regarding their English proficiency, the medical school they attended, and citizenship status. According to LMSA, the aforementioned forms of discrimination may contribute to increased stress, anxiety, or imposter syndrome among LHS+ identified medical student applicants to residency programs and cause discriminatory rejections when applying to residency programs.

Assessment findings were gathered from current LHS+ identified medical students who were asked if they heard from upper-class medical students or graduates who encountered the following scenarios during the residency application process.

Needs Assessment Findings From Current LHS+ Identified Medical Students

Type of Discrimination

Puerto Rico Medical Students

Mainland U.S. Medical Students

Received offensive questions or comments regarding their own English proficiency? (Yes) 48.7% 48.6%
Received notification of application denial because they were considered an international medical student? (Yes) 51.4% 35.3%
Received offensive questions or comments because they were considered an international medical student? (Yes) 56.3% 29.4%
Received offensive questions or comments based on the medical school they attended? (Yes) 61.3% 54.3%
Were asked if they were a U.S. citizen? (Yes) 64.6% 48.6%
Were asked to show documentation or proof of U.S. citizenship? (Yes) 43.1% 19.4%
*Chi-square analyses were conducted to compare dependent variables across independent variables, p<0.05. NS represents ‘not significant.”

Reporting discrimination

All medical students, faculty and staff are encouraged to report episodes of discrimination, at any time, to AAMC ERAS Investigations via erasinvestigations@aamc.org.

Alternatively, medical students may report incidents of discrimination to medical school leadership (e.g. Dean of Students Affairs, Dean for GME/DIO, Dean of Diversity) or to the University Office for Equal Opportunity.

Residents or fellows may submit reports of discrimination to complaints@acgme.org.