Black medical students attending historically Black (HBCU) medical schools reported greater senses of belonging and higher confidence in their scholastic abilities than those in predominantly white (PWI) medical schools, according to a recent study.
The study, “Black Medical Students’ Sense of Belonging and Confidence in Scholastic Abilities at Historically Black vs Predominantly White Medical Schools: A Prospective Study,” was published recently in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
HBCU students also reported higher confidence about being accepted into a top residency and indicated greater residency goal stability than those at PWIs.
“Our findings suggest that Black medical students in PWI schools may experience greater everyday discrimination relative to their HBCU peers that leads to reduced perceptions of their ability to succeed within medical school,” said Dr. Sylvia Perry, the study’s senior researcher and an associate professor of psychology at Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University.
The researchers recommended PWIs take action to increase representation within the medical community.
“Simply increasing the number of students and faculty of color is not enough,” Perry said. “These institutions should also focus on increasing underrepresented medical students’ sense of belonging by making the reduction of bias and discrimination explicit priorities. Medical schools must create an environment in which all students can thrive and feel safe.”