Do I qualify for URM status?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by lisalisa, Nov 4, 2002.

  1. lisalisa

    lisalisa Junior Member

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    I'm really not sure how one claims or proves racial/ethnic background. Is there some standard to measure how Black, Latino, or, in my case, Pacific Islander one is? (These are not philosophical questions. I'm really wondering how this is done.)

    Here's my story:
    My mom is Indo (Dutch-Indonesian biracial) and from Indonesia (formerly the "Dutch East Indies"). She was a Dutch citizen who, at age 6, was forced to leave with her family for Holland after Indonesia's independence. She came to the U.S. when she was 13. She became a citizen in her twenties.

    My questions:
    1. First, are Indonesians considered "Asians" or "Pacific Islanders"?
    2. If they are Pac. Islanders, is my mom one, despite her "Dutch blood"? (Racial blood - such a ridiculous concept.)
    3. Am I?
    4. How do I prove it?
    5. Finally, am I a URM?
     
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  3. siempre595

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    I have a similar question for whoever might read this. I'm part American Indian, something like 1/32. I'm not joking. I've heard people actually claim this (with proof of some sort) and are considered URM. I haven't looked into it all that much cause I feel like 1/32 is ridiculous, and I have a problem with reaping benefits from that. But all the same, how does one prove that, and does anyone know if 1/32 American Indian is URM.
    Thanks
     
  4. All-Star14

    All-Star14 Wants to Rock Wit U

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    I don't know about the Indo situation, but for the Native American situation: 1/32 is not going to cut it when trying to apply for URM status. The adcoms aren't going to take your word for it, either. You could try, but I don't think you'll even come close to being considered a URM unless you have documented papers that state you're a member of a particular tribe; even then, you have to have like 1/8 or more tribal heritage to become a member of that tribe.
     
  5. lisalisa

    lisalisa Junior Member

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    I just did a search for "Pacific Islanders" and "Indonesians," and found another forum discussing it. (http://www.yolkshop.com/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=11&threadid=311)

    Here's one opinion:

    Monday, September 16, 2002 2:18 PM

    As someone who has studied Philippine history, I have firm belief that Filipinos are Southeast Asian. Why? Because we are an essentially Malay people. Our language is a Malay language, though diluted with Spanish interjections. Our blood is Malay; just look at Indonesians, Malayasians, and other people from Southeast Asia. (Excluding the Vietnamese, Thai, Laotians, and Burmese.) We look like them. It is unfortunate that many people are ignorant of Philippine history and if they did study it, I'm sure they would agree with me. I mean, didn't Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Phlippines, call Las Islas Filipinas the "Pearl of the Orient"?

    I asked serveral Samoans and Tongans this question and they agreed with me. In fact, they are livid that many Filipinos call themselves Pacific Islanders because Filipinos do not belong to the "triangle". (I don't know what this means, but I believe the "triangle" refers to geography.)

    Also, it is unfortunate that people have a dichtomy and perception of Asians having slanted eyes. Malayan Peoples have almond eyes. Northeast Asians (China, Japan, Korea) are fair-skinned and have slanted eyes. Southeast Asians are brown and have almond eyes. South Asians (India, Sri Lanka) and brown and have wider eyes.

    As for me, I am proud to be Filipino and Asian. We are Asian, and to ignore history and call ourselves Pacific Islanders is blasphemy. This slaps our ancestors in the face.
     
  6. siempre595

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    I wasn't going to claim 1/32. I don't think I can prove it anyhow; it's word of mouth by relatives. And I'm blonde, so I doubt people would believe it. Anyhow, thanks for the info.
     
  7. mountainlander

    mountainlander Junior Member

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    How about this one. I am at least 1/2 Hispanic (1/4 mexican from my dad and 1/4 european spanish from my mother) Thing is that's my biological parents, not my adopted parents. And all I have to prove it is a small family history blurb that came with my adoption papers. Whatcha think?
     
  8. pwrpfgrl

    pwrpfgrl Senior Member

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    I don't know too much about this but it seems to me that the whole point of asking if you are a URM is because schools want physicians that will eventually go back and practice in the areas of their communities that are underserved. For instance, many black and latino/a physicians will practice in areas where there are many other blacks/latinos and where there aren't many other physicians (please don't flame me - i think this is honestly what med schools expect of the URM's they educate). so, if you feel VERY strongly tied to a particular ethnic group where physicians are few and far between, you should make this evident on your application. if you don't feel comfortable considering yourself URM, then you should mention your particular affiliations in your personal statement. if you don't feel strong ties to a particular, under represented minority group, but use your "blood" ties to that group to your advantage, i would consider that taking advantage of the system. it probably would come through in interviews, so i'd strongly discourage it.

    just my $.02
    :)
     
  9. lola

    lola Bovine Member

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    i think it's a little dishonest to claim urm status if you don't identify with the ethnic group that is under represented and its not obvious to others that you are in that group.

    one of my friends used to claim she was mexican on college apps and it drove me up the wall! she never would admit that she was 1/4-1/2 mexican for any other reason but jumped at the chance when it was to her advantage. she didn't really look mexican so it's not like she'd been discriminated against in the past b/c of her ethnicity.
     
  10. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    This all goes to show how ridicoulous the "URM" thing is:rolleyes: i am 3.222 X 10^-39 Neanderathal am I URM:rolleyes: :rolleyes:


    btw this is not meant to offend the people who are considered "URM" just the system which perpetuates selesction by race.
     
  11. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    Second thought forget EVERYTHING i just said, no reason to rekindle this debate
     
  12. Mutterkuchen

    Mutterkuchen Senior Member

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    I agree with this. I am strongly in favor of the special status that URMs get. The innercity clinic for women that I volunteer at in St. Louis would be better served by a black physican coming from an innercity background. For this reason alone, I think that we should encourage participation in medicine from African American, Latin Americans, and other URM groups.

    However, taking advantage of this status is a disgrace. If you meet the URM requirements and feel disadvantaged in some way, by all means, take advantage. But if you are not disadvantaged you have no moral justification. It's this kind of behavior that makes people so passionately opposed to URMs.
     
  13. siempre595

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    Just to clarify, I'm not claiming 1/32 anything, and I don't agree with anyone who does. Personally, I think med schools are largely filling slots due to affirmative action, and I highly doubt the majority of schools believe that people (no matter what their ethnicity) will return to their underserved roots (which I can personally speak of, since I'm from an underserved area and almost no one returns). At the same time, the persons filling these slots are by all means qualified, so I'm not arguing that here either.
    It was just an information question. Let's not be silly....3.222x10-39 neandertal.....heck, we probably all are. well, that's a different debate.
     
  14. medicine2006

    medicine2006 Happy Pisces

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    I believe in affirmative action. This policy not only helps the URM but also society at large. For example native american, black, and hispanic doctors are usually the only ones that serve their respective communities. This benefits all of society because it makes sure we can promote general good health in this nation.

    That being said my main point was to address the OP's situation. In my opinion Pacific Islanders SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED FOR URM STATUS! Why should they be more disadvantaged then southeast asians such as vietnamese who had their country literally bombed apart. Torn by war and their women raped by american military men. And for sure Pacific Islanders didn't have to go thru the stuff african americans or native americans have suffered through.

    I am not trying to be antagonistic. But I hate people who have not been disadvantaged jump on the URM bandwagon when it suits their needs.
     
  15. mountainlander

    mountainlander Junior Member

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    Hmmm. Not taking any of the previous strong statements personally, because none of you know me or my situation. Obviously since I was given up for adoption, I DID start out disadvantaged. Secondly, since my hometown is actually Farmington, NM, I DO identify STRONGLY with the hispanic culture (native american too for that matter) and most likely WILL return to practice in or near my home town. I don't think you have to look like any particular race to be disadvantaged. I assure you those who grew up in abusive or alcoholic homes have been disadvantaged as well. Since my intention is to gain entrance into medical school and become a practicing physician that gives back to the community I would argue that any tool used to work the system and get in is a fair tool. You guys choose your class schedule around those professors that are known to give out few As and classes that are insanely tough. You guys fight tooth and nail for any little advantage you can grasp at on the MCAT. My biological mother would be extremely proud to see me applying for medical school. Further, I am no less or more intelligent because my parents raised me instead of her--I am the same person with the same abilities.

    Please understand that I am arguing at a philosophical state here, its a moot point my applications are already in--and I am as white as can be according to them.
     
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  17. lola

    lola Bovine Member

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    just to clarify... i don't think you have to look like a particular race/ethnic group to identify. but, if you don't identify, i think you should at least look like that group to claim urm status. otherwise, you are not identifying and no one knows you are a urm so you will not have faced any adversity because of it. if i knew i was 1/4 african american but nobody else knew this and i did not identify with the african american community, it would not be right to claim it.

    do you really think being adopted means you started out disadvantaged? i'd have to disagree there. my boyfriend is adopted, and i wouldn't say he's disadvantaged in any way because of it.

    anyway, don't mean to start an argument but not EVERYONE chose their classes around what profs gave out A's. i chose based on who was the best prof. i didn't even think to choose who would be the easiest.

    the more people that cheat the system, the harder it is for regular old honest people to get in. i'm not saying you are cheating the system as i don't know you and don't know anything about you, but i think a lot of people do cheat the system and it makes it really hard for those who are not cheating.

    sorry, i'm just a little ornery this evening.
     
  18. SMW

    SMW Grand Member

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    Hate to rain on everyone's parade, but what are people who "are" part Hispanic, or Pacific Islander, or Native American supposed to do? Lie? I am 1/4 Hispanic. AMCAS does not ask if you are URM. They ask if you are "White, NOT Hispanic," or Hispanic. They also ask what your first spoken language is. They also ask if you consider yourself disadvantaged. I answered Hispanic, English, no. I got various reactions from adcoms (one thought I was an Alaska Native, for some reason!), but I don't honestly know how else I could have answered the questions. As far as I know, 1/32 Native American is good enough to get you tribal membership, and should be good enough for URM status. If you don't want it, don't claim it. AMCAS does not ask you to "prove" anything.
     
  19. siempre595

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    Ok, so the whole "look like/identify with" issue I think is coming out of my blonde/American Indian comment. This may have been a poor analogy to post here; it's personal for me because my roommate and I have discussed this before. Apparently there are people who claim something like 1/16 this or 1/8 that. (She is from Oklahoma and has a friend who claimed 1/16 American Indian and DOES indentify with it and is receiving a significant amount of aid due to this). She thinks I could research this and benefit from it. But I want to stress I have no interest in doing this as I am not disadvantaged and have no personal connection with this portion of my background whatsoever. I completely agree that people who do that are misusing the system, hurting everyone else, and are downright wrong. I would agree you don't have to look "just so" to be very much a part of a specific ethnic group. Also, I'm sure there are people who do return to underserved areas to practice medicine, but I do not think this qualifies them anymore than anyone else to be admitted to a school.
    In addition, I personally do not pick classes just to get A's (check my transcript and you'll see that). and about the only person I fought with over the MCAT was myself and maybe the rude rep I talked to a few times on the phone.
     
  20. lisalisa

    lisalisa Junior Member

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    For classifications: http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/race/racefactcb.html

    Incidentally, Indonesians are not Pacific Islanders.

    American Heritage's definition of Asian: http://www.bartleby.com/61/12/A0461200.html


    From: http://www.health.org/reality/articles/2001/asianpacific/pg2.asp
    Who are Pacific Islanders?
    Pacific Islanders comprise approximately 5 percent of the AAPI population in the United States and its jurisdictions. They include:

    Polynesians: Native Hawaiians, Samoans, Tongans, Maoris, Cook Islanders, Tahitians, and Easter Islanders.
    Micronesians: Marshall Islanders, Palauans, Chamarros, Northern Mariana Islanders, and Carolinians.
    Melanesians: Fijians.
     
  21. Random Access

    Random Access 1K Member

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    Carolinians? Sweet Tea and I are from NC! Do we count?
     
  22. bailey39

    bailey39 Member

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    Hi guys,
    Just a quick note. To my knowledge, you don't "choose" to be URM on AMCAS. You simply check off your (and they ask you to say all you identify with) ethnicities/race. Being 1/4-1/2 Af-Amer (even my great-grandparents are biracial, so who knows what I am exactly), some schools seem to consider me URM and some don't--I'm extremely light-skinned and sometimes people don't even think I'm related to my mom. I would NOT choose "urm" and definitely never claim disadvantaged status (that's why it's a separate category), but it would definitely feel wrong, almost lke lying, if I wrote that I was only white because I'm not. One of my recs mentions my background (he told me he thought it was impt when describing me)and it's actually been a discussion at a couple of interviews, but always a really friendly one. People are usually really interested in my family and stuff.

    And also, for those of you who seem to think that being discriminated against is what defines an ethnicity ("she didn't really look mexican so it's not like she'd been discriminated against in the past b/c of her ethnicity"), it's not--it's an unfortunate reality for many, but I'd like to think an ethnicity is based much more in the community's and my own family's culture and history. It's unfortunate that being associated, in any way, with some ethnicities elicits such a heated debate about advantages/passing for/etc. I guess it's just another thing that makes the whole application process a pain and hopefully it'll change for the better.

    Good luck with everything!

    PS--Mountainlander, my mom's with the IHS in Shiprock, NM--it's great you're thinking of working in the area!
     
  23. Sweet Tea

    Sweet Tea Girl Next Door
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    haha-- the funny thing about this statement is that i actually could qualify as a urm (but i don't claim urm status). needless to say, i try to stay out of these discussions. ;)
     
  24. gel1

    gel1 Senior Member

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    I know you later said that you already turned in your apps and didn't claim it, but I just want to let you know that you definitely qualify as URM, and besides that fact, it helps the AAMC to know exactly who is mexican-american in the medical field because Latinos are so hugely under-represented. In fact, I know a rich suburban girl who happens to be 1/4 Mexican and she now has a full scholarship to a "top-ten" medical school because of it. Yes, she was qualified in many ways, but the simple fact is we need people who identify with a whole lot of different cultures in some way (even if you are adopted you obviously identify in some ways). So--honestly I was saddened when I read that you didn't claim it. No one will ask you to "prove" this, but furthermore the whole premed bias against URMs and the 'us against them' attitude is ridiculous. You are who you are, and you denied a part of your past (for whatever reasons). That said, it is very possible to go into your AMCAS app and fix it. It may raise eyebrows, but it will at least be the truth. Take this from someone who is already in med school, and has some experience with what med schools are really looking for. And even if you don't want to change it, I just wanted to answer your question, because there is a lot of negative sentiment in this thread (except, of course, from the SDN goddess SMW :) ).
     
  25. mountainlander

    mountainlander Junior Member

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    Lola:

    Certainly meant "you" in the generic sense, not the specific sense.

    Bailey:

    Wow! Thats GREAT about your mom. There is SO much need for quality healthcare in the Shiprock area, and everything I have heard about IHS hasn't always been good--tough gig. Where exactly are you from?

    Gel:

    It's an interesting argument. Affirmative action is an inappropriate "fix" to a very real problem. I disagree with choosing people based on their race for any reason...seems to generate as much discrimination as it tries to reverse... That being said, I think I would have a tough time "being myself" in interviews if I tried to be that much of a hypocrite. And I'm not that good of an actor (that's why I want to be a doctor:laugh: ) If the topic is brought up (and it may, I do look rather Hispanic,) I will simply be truthful about by ethnicity--and if the school chooses to look at me as a Hispanic, there is no way for me to stop that. Thanks for the support though!!
     
  26. Ryo-Ohki

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    Putting underqualified students into medical school helps people?

    Well, maybe on the population control problem.
     
  27. mountainlander

    mountainlander Junior Member

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    HEY! Who you calling underqualified!!;) :laugh:
     
  28. LoneCoyote

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    Hey all,

    I will be applying next year and have been trying to figure out how to deal with the ethnicity boxes on the applications myself. I am 2nd generation Hispanic (Colombian, so non-URM), and white. I have a Spanish surname and got the recessive genes in the family, blonde hair and blue eyes. This has always been an issue for me because I "don''t look Hispanic" but people can easily identify my last name as Hispanic. I grew up speaking English at home since my father's family immediately assimilated upon arrival in America, and have studied Spanish in school. My Spanish speaking skills are definitely not great and are something I want to improve before or during medical school. I do want to work with underserved communities, have been doing my volunteering in a majority-Latino patient population county hospital, and ultimately see myself practicing in a simlar type position.

    So I have heard so many mixed things as to what to do about the applications from different pre-med advisors. I would never check disadvantaged because I am not. I am clearly white racially but also do not want to deny the existence of my heritage on my dad's side. I have been told not to worry since I would be checking non-URM Hispanic and white that it would not matter since non-URM Hispanics arent given any "special considerations." And then I have been told not to check any Hispanic box, because admissions committees will grill me on my ties to the culture and think I am trying to get a leg up since my spoken Spanish is not so great. But frankly, given my last name, I think it will be kind of obvious anyway, at least to med schools in states with large Hispanic populations like CA and AZ, that I have some sort of Hispanic background. If anyone else out there is dealing or has dealt with this issue and wants to offer some advice, I am definitely all ears. Thanks a lot.
     
  29. carmell1981

    carmell1981 Junior Member

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    I don't want to antagonize or anything but please do not undermine what Pacific Islanders have or have not gone thru. If you knew Philippine History, you would know what kinds of things the country went thru during the Spanish and Japanese ruled my native country. If you don't call having your children be put through bayonets and your family become enslaved or raped, then I don't know what you would call suffering.
    As for claiming disadvantaged status, I did...simply because I went through elementary schools (in Southern Philippines) where we didn't even have electricity or bathrooms and I had to walk to three feet of mud to get to class during the rainy season. We have no health care in that part of the country. My family was and is still poor. The only reason I can go to college is bec. of scholarships and these are not minority scholarships.
    I think being considered to be URM should be based on experience, not just ethnicity bec. I do know some caucasian males who have gone thru so much in their lives and have struggled with finances to get thru college....then I also know some affluent minorities who grew up in U.S. and are not really disadvantaged.
    Just my thoughts on this rainy, dreary afternoon.
     
  30. DOCTORSAIB

    DOCTORSAIB Ophtho or bust!

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    Hi all,

    I have a question.....URM status is good b/c it allows med schools to selection "under-represented minorities" in medicine to study and then go back and provide for under-represented communities. Having said that, Im from Afghanistan (born there), raised mostly in the US and have definite plans of returning to Afg. to help out after my schooling is over. Since the the number of afghan medical students in the US is very low and Afghanistan is in serious need of doctors, then can I claim URM status? Probably not, so then what do I check off as race when there is no "other" option? (no pun intended)...:)

    DOCTORSAIB
     
  31. TexasRose

    TexasRose Gotta run
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    I asked my mother's family about this very question, since I am biracial but don't "look" it. (My mother Af. Am.) Here's what my grandmother, uncle, and mom had to say.

    "Don't deny what your ancestors, what we have been through and fought for, for you to be in the position you are in today. You didn't grow up disadvantaged because of the sacrifices we made for you. Now it's your turn to repay that advantage to the community.( in the form of medical care) To deny your racial heritage because you don't 'fit the color scheme' is to deny us."

    Those of you who have a heritage like this don't need to feel bad about not fitting the stereotype.

    Ignore the whiners and naysayers, they have nothing better to do today.
     
  32. Raptor

    Raptor Found one

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    AMEN!!!!
     
  33. I believe in using affirmative action to help give URM's from poor communities the same chances that middle and upper class children of other races get. To be effective at this, you have to start giving the financial aid and educational opportunities that will give such children the tools to succeed and enter college during elementary school and continue throughout high school and college.

    The problem of using affirmative action at the medical school level is that it does not help to address socioeconomic inequalities that have occured because of racial discrimination in this country. The people who are benefitting from affirmative action in med school admissions are for the most part kids who grew up in middle-class or wealthy families, went to college, and had the same advantages as most white and Asian children. And I object to this because I don't think people that have had every advantage that I was given and are recruited by Harvard with the same MCAT scores and lower GPA while I can't even apply there with my stats should be given special preference. Yes, slavery was apalling and there is still a great deal of prejudice against blacks; but nearly every racial and ethnic group has had injustices and personal hardships. For example, my ancestors are Irish, and when many of the Irish arrived in this country they lived in slums and terrible conditions and faced a good deal of bigotry and prejudice. My parents also grew up in poverty, my dad was from a family of 6 children in Montana where his alcoholic father drank their savings away, and my mom lived in trailer parks and shacks with outhouses for most of her childhood. But this was not considered at all when I applied to med school. I don't necessarily agree with the belief on here that "URM's have to walk around their whole life being called n**** or being hated for being black/Mexican" either. I know plenty of URM's who have white or Asian friends and date outside their race and who have not been mistreated by professors or other students b/c of their race. There are also plenty of non-white people who will not like me b/c I'm white out there too, or more often, b/c I'm a woman. I don't think this "one size fits all" categorizing works, and unfortunately that is what AA in med school admissions is all about.

    The other problem I have with the system is what Lola said, that it is too open for abuse. One female in my class is 1/2 Mexican, 1/2 white, and describes herself as Mexican although a)her Spanish is terrible even though she grew up in a state with a large Hispanic population and her dad is Mexican, b)she doesn't look Mexican at all so it's not like people run around acting racist to her all the time, and c)she refuses to date Mexican (or black) men because "they treat women like $#--" (her words, not mine. oh yeah, she also objects to Asian men b/c of the supposed size issue. whatever.). Another guy in my class is 1/4 Mexican, claims URM status, went to a school that is 97% white in Minnesota, speaks not a word of Spanish, and has no intention of serving in a predominantly Hispanic community after graduation. I understand that a lot of people on here believe that "they don't need to identify with the culture, they are just doing what they're legally entitled to." OK, but the point on here seems to be to recruit URM's who will relate to the African-American or Hispanic communities and return to serve them. A white guy in my class worked for years as a mover to pay for trips to Guatemala and Ecuador so that he could volunteer with an orthopedic surgeon who operated on poor children and work as a translator there. He speaks fluent Spanish and has a tremendous interest in working with the Latino community, so should he not be given preferential treatment and financial aid in line with meeting some of the goals of AA (even though he is white, he is more disadvantaged and speaks much more Spanish than any URM in my class)? according to "the rules" approved by so many on SDN, no. I think it's time the rules changed and affirmative action was reformed to meet its original purpose.
     
  34. LoneCoyote

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    I definitely would also agree that there are problems with the current AA system. In fact, these problems have led me to my questioning whether or not I should check the Hispanic box. The government does define Hispanics as being from any racial group; but for me checking the box is not about, as you put it--following "the rules"-- but about being true to who I am and to where my family has come from.

    And I agree that "one size fits all" categorizing has its flaws. But, I think that is exactly what many of the people who have posted on this board who are in favor of having bi- or multi- racial/ethnic people are saying too. When you say that someone who is 1/2 Mexican and speaks little Spanish and does not "look Mexican so hasn't dealt with racism" should not be considered URM, it seems that you too are just lumping all Hispanic into the same broad category that is the popular conception of what Hispanic is. To paraphrase the Latino author Richard Rodriguez in his recent book Brown, Americans have come to see "Hispanic" as a race of brown people, and not as an ethnicity. He sees this a huge misconception in modern America and discusses the diversity of the Latino community and how it includes people who often look very different and come from distinctive countries and share a unique culture. It's a great book that I highly recommend to anyone interested in these questions.

    So, maybe if we could move beyond simple definitions and classifications we could improve the system, both for people like myself and others who have more than one ethnic/racial identity, and those who are underpresented/disadvantaged in another way or who have unqiue circumstances that should be considered. I do think there is some movement in this direction. A doctor I spoke with at length this summer, who was on an adcom for 10 years, told me that the committee was debating giving preference to applicants who spoke another modern language, like Spanish or Chinese, fluently. She also told me that she would recognize multi-racial/ethnic candidates as a diverse addition to the incoming classes.

    I must say that participating in this thread all day has solidifed my decision to check both boxes and to tell any interviewer or adcom that objects to this why I am doing it. So thanks all of you out there for some good conversation and debate on this! Now back to physics homework for me as it is 1 am...

    :)
     
  35. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    Okay, what does the 1/2 versus 1/4 versus 1/8 have to do with being Mexican-American? I am pretty sure that AMCAS does not state this anywhere that you have to be so and so percent whatever. Also most African-Americans currently applying to medical school have a very small percentage of African in them and are still considered African-American so it is the same for Mexican-American. It is not how much of something you have but were your ancestors came from and if you actually identify with that background. One thing that I do not understand and have to agree with Katie is that if med schools are going to use URM then they need to pick those that can actually communicate with Latinos, hence they need to be able to at least talk good Spanish.
     
  36. mountainlander

    mountainlander Junior Member

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    This is really a Cache 22. Even if you give people that have shown an interest and committment in practicing in underserved or under priviliged areas deference in the selection process, there is still no guarentee they will actually DO so after graduation. Worst case scenario, you and I both know there are people out there who will do or say anthing just to get in. Best case scenario, we also know that through the course of Medical School ideals, interests, and even beliefs change as one is exposed to new knowledge and viewpoints. It's a difficult process no matter what, however I feel that Medical School may not be a place that this nation (and all of our races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic classes) can afford to train less qualified candidates to be doctors. I know that I would be one enraged man if the need for my daughter to receive emergent care arose and she was seen by a physician who dispenses inferior care because they got in instead of a more qualified individual.

    (man these replys just take on a life of their own, you look back and you've written half a page!!! I wish admission essays flowed this easily!!)
     
  37. Random Access

    Random Access 1K Member

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    For information purposes only, that's Catch-22, by Joseph Heller. ;)

    One of my favorite books...
     
  38. Thundrstorm

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    This is such a tricky issue. How much of something must you be to claim it? What really matters: appearance? culture? or the simple fact that one of your parents, grandparents, or ancestors was a racial minority? These are questions that I have considered my entire life, although more in a personal context than in terms of affirmative action. I am multiracial and have always classified myself as such. When I took the SAT, I checked off white, black, and NA because I am, technically, all of those things. I do know that tribal documentation is required for someone to claim NA status. I tihnk this is a good idea since so many Americans are part Native American.

    When I took the SAT, I also checked the special black box to be considered for the National Acheivement Program, even though I don't consider myself solely black. (although many people do try to pigeonhole me that way). But it didn't matter in the long run b/c I didn't need it. I was admitted into many great schools and got a scholarship at my current undergrad for my GPA and for being a National Merit Scholar, not for my race.

    When I apply to med school, I will not give up any opportunities just b/c someone else thinks Affirmative Action is wrong. I'm a good enough applicant on my own merit to get into a great med school, but I'm also smart enough not to close any doors in my own face.
     
  39. nina512

    nina512 Senior Member

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    can someone be disadvantaged and not a URM?

    I think they can. Looking back, I was one of those poor inner city kids they try to save by placing me in "out-reach" programs so I could get early exposure to math and science careers. My placement in these programs had nothing to do with my race, but rather dealt mostly with where I lived, how much my parents made, and what elementary and junior high school I went to. We were a rowdy bunch of kids from all kinds of backgrounds, african american, asian, arabic, caucasian, hispanic, etc.

    I claimed disadvantaged status. I thought why else would I have been placed in those programs? Being in these programs helped, because I was able to get additional schooling, compared to my classmates. Without the additional schooling, I wouldn't have passed the admissions tests at private high schools and gotten scholarships to pay for tuition. Boy, did I feel like a fish out of water when I made the transition from innercity schools to the posh private school in the suburbs. It was difficult to relate and assimilate for quite sometime, which continued on through college. But I finished and now I'm applying to med school. I am proof that "out-reach" programs do work.

    And yes, I do plan on practicing in my hood. I might not look like the people that live there, but we have something in common. I lived there too. I guess what I'm trying to say is that socio-economic status can make one disadvantaged, not just being a URM. I don't expect them to lower their standards for me, but I just used the box to explain my life between 0-18.

    Agree or disagree? just my thoughts on the issue.
     
  40. Sweet Tea

    Sweet Tea Girl Next Door
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    good post, nina512, and i do think that you can be disadvantaged and not be an URM. your story is a perfect illustration of that. other examples would be a rural appalachian kid (my family), or someone who grew up moving from foster home to foster home (i'm reading "white oleander" now so that's the first thing that popped into my head). not necessarily urm's, but disadvantaged nonetheless.

    so glad to hear you did well with the "out-reach" programs, best of luck with your applications!!
     
  41. Mutterkuchen

    Mutterkuchen Senior Member

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    nina,

    I think that you will find a sympathetic ear when interviewing. This is the kind of student they want, especially state schools that have mandates from the state to serve underserved areas. I do not think that you will get as much help as a URM would, though. Being a disadvantaged white person is not very quantifiable.

    That said, with solid scores you will get in. Adcoms like a compelling hardship story that is not BS.
     
  42. Mistress S

    Mistress S Don't mess with the S

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    While refraining from entering the AA debate, I would like to comment on the Native American qualification issue. A couple of years ago, a friend and co-worker of mine applied to med school (she received multiple acceptances) as a NA URM. You do have to have tribal status to do this, and to enroll in a tribe you must be at least 1/8 NA. They are pretty strict about this because being on tribal rolls can confer some benefits from the federal government, as well as many tribes have revenue from oil or logging businesses or casinos (popular here in the West) and often share the profits among their members. If you are not already on a tribal roll, you would have to submit proof of your lineage verifying that you are at least 1/8 NA. At least, that's what she told me.

    For this particular person, she exactly met the 1/8 minimum (one grandparent was full-blooded NA, I forget which tribe). She had a good GPA (don't know exactly what, but >3.5), sub-par MCAT (25), and received interviews at almost every school she applied to and eventually got 3 acceptances, I believe. Her father was a surgeon and she was by her own admission very advantaged, and did not claim disadvantaged status on AMCAS, only URM. None the less, almost every secondary she received asked why she considered herself to be disadvantaged, and also about her cultural ties. While she was honest about the fact that she did not grow up on a reservation or face any particular hardships, this did not seem to matter to the schools- NA's are probably the most under-represented of the URM's, so if someone can authenticate their membership in this group it does seem to benfit their application quite a bit. Of course, I'm basing this on my n=1 sample, so maybe in other instances it is less beneficial.

    For my part, I think I would qualify in the disadvantaged but not URM category (I would fall into the "moved from foster home to foster home" group). I have not yet decided how or if to deal with this in my app though. I'm not sure if it really matters if you faced unusual hardship growing up if you are not URM, and I'm not sure if I want to bring it all up anyway. Then again, I have heard that questions about your background and childhood are common in interviews, and I'm not ashamed of where I come from- in fact, I'm proud of everything I've overcome to get where I am. Oh well, I guess I'll have to think about this more as it gets closer to June.
     
  43. 2badr

    2badr **Switch**

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    I try very hard not to get in the mix of these issues for personal reasons.But I just plan to stick with appearances only.
    So I hope I don't sound like a hypocrite if I say I agree with you TeresaW.
     
  44. BlueAvocado

    BlueAvocado MD/DO Hopeful
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  45. nina512

    nina512 Senior Member

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    Mistress S

    When you apply, you want to let adcoms know as much about you, and on the AMCAS, there's a box you can fill in about your life between 0-18.

    I went ahead and gave a synopsis of my life between the ages of 0-18 and how those experiences have effected me. I didn't say I was disadvantaged. I figured that adcoms could read it and make that call. I'm sure they can tell BS when they see it. If they ask me about my past during interviews, I know I can back it up.

    Do what you think is best, but I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to let adcoms get to know you, especially if you didn't address these pre-18 hardships in your personal statement, URM or not.

    Sorry to continue this thread, it is a touchy subject.

    "Discussing race, religion, and sex...that's one way to get kicked off Survivor." :D
     

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