We’re experiencing challenges in 2020 that proceed to disrupt our lives, our companies and the way we take into consideration our establishments, practices and beliefs, from the devastating impacts of COVID-19 to partaking conversations about racial fairness throughout our nation.
In healthcare, the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the inefficiencies, healthcare workforce shortages and entry points which have lengthy taxed our system. Even earlier than COVID-19 pushed our hospitals to their limits, the World Well being Group estimated we had been dealing with a world scarcity of seven.2 million healthcare staff.
But, many nurses, docs and different medical specialists have been furloughed or misplaced their jobs in latest months. It’s a paradox that speaks to the healthcare business’s have to innovate the way it educates and prepares folks to enter its workforce.
The present system merely isn’t set as much as handle the areas of best want or present the entry required to create extra range throughout the healthcare business.
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A report issued in June by the Affiliation of American Medical Faculties (AAMC) paints a dire image of the state of range in medication. In keeping with AAMC, solely 5% of lively physicians establish as Black or African American and simply 5.8% establish as Hispanic. We should do extra to open alternatives for various expertise in medical professions.
Reliance on MCAT check places various college students at an obstacle
The very fact is conventional medical training has lengthy relied on measures which can be inherently weighted in opposition to various candidates to gauge future admissions success. An over-reliance on check scores and grades places many college students who’ve needed to work by way of faculty, take care of members of the family or take different nontraditional paths to medical college at an excessive drawback. These necessities disproportionately have an effect on Black, Hispanic and different People from various backgrounds and develop into limitations to entry.
As COVID-19 places logistical stress on medical college admissions testing, some colleges are extending deadlines and accepting partial functions till college students can full these checks. On the identical time, the College of California not too long ago introduced it’s ending SAT and ACT necessities to assist guarantee a extra equitable admissions course of.
Many different colleges are making the standardized checks non-obligatory for admission into undergraduate applications. Pre-COVID-19 analysis printed by the Nationwide Affiliation for School Admissions Counseling has proven that such test-optional insurance policies can improve each the variety of undergraduate functions and the variety of underrepresented minority college students in freshman courses.
This identical stage of flexibility has not been utilized to medical colleges, lots of which nonetheless require potential college students take the Medical School Admission Check, or MCAT, regardless of quite a few cancellations and rescheduling within the wake of the worldwide pandemic.
As a medical educator and doctor, I problem all medical colleges to embrace this second as a chance to reevaluate our dependence on the MCAT as a defining worth indicator within the admissions course of.
Since 1928, medical colleges have relied on the MCAT to gauge an applicant’s potential. As we speak, making use of for medical college, which incorporates check charges and expenses for preparation programs, can price as much as $10,000. And there’s no assure the funding will result in college acceptance.
This threat robotically costs out many potential candidates at a time when healthcare faces a projected scarcity of as much as 139,000 physicians by 2033 within the U.S. Paired with the medical college functions prices, college charges, tuition and dwelling bills, the standard medical system has created a profession path that limits the kind of college students it admits and attracts and, in the end, the kind of docs it produces.
Greater than a check rating
There’s a lot extra to a scholar than their MCAT rating. I see this on daily basis in my work.
Many college students who could not have carried out properly on the MCAT have the drive and educational strengths to reach medical college.
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With the suitable help and mentoring, I’ve seen these college students thrive and know they will obtain their dream to develop into physicians.
Backside line: A single check can’t be the one measure of 1’s potential to reach medication
Evaluation instruments just like the MCAT could have made sense prior to now, however placing an excessive amount of emphasis on them is limiting alternative for too many deserving college students right this moment.
The time is correct for the medical business to rethink the way it evaluates, educates and advances the healthcare professionals of tomorrow. Because the impacts of COVID-19 give rise to new applied sciences within the classroom, and MCAT exams, clinicals and internships are positioned on maintain, we’ve got an unprecedented alternative to remodel our antiquated method to medical training that, for much too lengthy, has denied entry to many promising college students.
Now could be the time for significant change.
David Lenihan, Ph.D., is president of Ponce Well being Sciences College and co-founder and CEO of Tiber Well being, an training expertise firm providing health-science curricula.