How do African immigrant groups feel about making up an increasing number of Black students at medical schools?

mattpehler

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    Obviously as a race, those who identify as Black or African Americans are still very underrepresented in medicine. But when you consider the makeup of medical schools today, especially at top high stat schools, it seems that the majority of those that identify as Black or African American are coming from African immigrant origins. Obviously being Black is not a monolith and there's different cultural and social factors among groups in the African Diaspora, which is leading to this effect.

    But considering the boost that the URM status gives, isn't it benefitting African Immigrant groups over those that come from African American communities in the U.S? Is the benefit of increased representation the same to African Americans communities in the U.S if that representation is coming overwhelmingly from African immigrant groups?

    I really don't know what or how to think about this, especially considering that so many medical schools and teaching hospitals are in majority urban African American communities.

    If anyone could share their viewpoint or share articles, I would really appreciate it.
     

    Mad Jack

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      Obviously as a race, those who identify as Black or African Americans are still very underrepresented in medicine. But when you consider the makeup of medical schools today, especially at top high stat schools, it seems that the majority of those that identify as Black or African American are coming from African immigrant origins. Obviously being Black is not a monolith and there's different cultural and social factors among groups in the African Diaspora, which is leading to this effect.

      But considering the boost that the URM status gives, isn't it benefitting African Immigrant groups over those that come from African American communities in the U.S? Is the benefit of increased representation the same to African Americans communities in the U.S if that representation is coming overwhelmingly from African immigrant groups?

      I really don't know what or how to think about this, especially considering that so many medical schools and teaching hospitals are in majority urban African American communities.

      If anyone could share their viewpoint or share articles, I would really appreciate it.
      They aren't taking spots from other Black applicants. Even with African applicants in the mix Black matriculants remain underrepresented proportional to their share of the population. Can't really see what the concern is.
       
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      mattpehler

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        They aren't taking spots from other Black applicants. Even with African applicants in the mix Black matriculants remain underrepresented proportional to their share of the population. Can't really see what the concern is.
        I was referring more to the trends we're seeing at medical schools of Black representation. For example, suppose the AAMC is able to push for an AA/Black representation of 14% at medical schools in the U.S (current is around 7-8% I think), but this makeup is of 4-5% African Americans and 9-10% African immigrant groups. Then I think it would be important to ask if African Americans are being represented in medicine and if we are increasing the amount of physicians coming from African American communities?

        Also, it's not really "taking spots" but it is very evident at stat selective schools that over 60-80% of black students are from African immigrant groups. This might suggest that applicants from African immigrant groups have higher stats and they outcompete other URM applicants for admission. So in the case of very selective top schools, you could say that African immigrant groups are "taking spots," however, I don't know if that's necessarily bad, which is why I wanted to get other opinions.
         
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        Mad Jack

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          I was referring more to the trends we're seeing at medical schools of Black representation. For example, suppose the AAMC is able to push for an AA/Black representation of 14% at medical schools in the U.S (current is around 7-8% I think), but this makeup is of 4-5% African Americans and 9-10% African immigrant groups. Then I think it would be important to ask if African Americans are being represented in medicine and if we are increasing the amount of physicians coming from African American communities?

          Also, it's not really "taking spots" but it is very evident at stat selective schools that over 60-80% of black students are from African immigrant groups. This might suggest that applicants from African immigrant groups have higher stats and they outcompete other URM applicants for admission. So in the case of very selective top schools, you could say that African immigrant groups are "taking spots," however, I don't know if that's necessarily bad, which is why I wanted to get other opinions.
          There is a dearth of applications overall and you are largely speaking to hypotheticals that have not actually occurred, so I doubt you'll get much input
           
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          Dave1980

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            Obviously as a race, those who identify as Black or African Americans are still very underrepresented in medicine. But when you consider the makeup of medical schools today, especially at top high stat schools, it seems that the majority of those that identify as Black or African American are coming from African immigrant origins. Obviously being Black is not a monolith and there's different cultural and social factors among groups in the African Diaspora, which is leading to this effect.

            But considering the boost that the URM status gives, isn't it benefitting African Immigrant groups over those that come from African American communities in the U.S? Is the benefit of increased representation the same to African Americans communities in the U.S if that representation is coming overwhelmingly from African immigrant groups?

            I really don't know what or how to think about this, especially considering that so many medical schools and teaching hospitals are in majority urban African American communities.

            If anyone could share their viewpoint or share articles, I would really appreciate it.
            The point of affirmative action isn't to increase the number of African American doctors or give a boost to those with low SES but to increase the number of Black doctors.

            So...what's your issue with it again?
             
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            mattpehler

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              There is a dearth of applications overall and you are largely speaking to hypotheticals that have not actually occurred, so I doubt you'll get much input

              I understand the overall scarcity of Black applicants in general. I am asking these questions because I think we are seeing an overall constant or decrease in African American applicants while we're seeing an increase in applicants and matriculants of other Black subgroups. In 1973, 1,929 Black applicants total applied to medical schools. We don't have a breakup by subgroup but I would assume that the majority were African Americans considering the time. In 2018, 1,985 (44.8%) of all Black applicants identified as African American alone (not including multiple Black or African American Subgroups). I'm sure if you were to properly compare the numbers of African Americans in medical schools throughout the years, it would show a drastic decrease in proportion and a constant or decrease in actual numbers.

              I think it is important to ask the question that as long as the overall Black matriculants numbers increase, does it matter if African American numbers in medicine don't? I think we can ask this question within other URM groups as well.

              If you look at Hispanic applicants statistics, you see a similar trend of Mexican/Mexican American/Chicano groups when compared to those of other Hispanic backgrounds:
              2002: 32.6% (798) of All Hispanic applicants(2,443) were Mexican/Mexican American/Chicano.
              2018: 28.1% (926) of All Hispanic applicants(3,297) were Mexican/Mexican American/Chicano.
              During this period Mexican applicant numbers increased slightly while other Hispanic group applicant numbers nearly doubled. Mexican groups make up 60+% of all Hispanic groups in the U.S.

              By simply saying that we are increasing the number of URM or Black or Hispanic matriculants in medical schools, I think it overlooks representations of specific communities. These communities also make up the largest proportion of minorities in the general patient population.


              The point of affirmative action isn't to increase the number of African American doctors or give a boost to those with low SES but to increase the number of Black doctors.

              So...what's your issue with it again?
              I never said I have an issue with affirmative action nor am I discussing it specifically.

              What I am asking is:

              Do you feel that also increasing representation of African Americans doctors specifically is important in medicine as opposed to just focusing on increasing Black doctors overall?

              And If yes, then with the increasing proportion of Black medical students coming from African Immigrant groups, is increasing African American representation going to be overlooked?
               
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              Dave1980

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                Do you feel that also increasing representation of African Americans doctors specifically is important in medicine as opposed to just focusing on increasing Black doctors overall?

                And If yes, then with the increasing proportion of Black medical students coming from African Immigrant groups, is increasing African American representation going to be overlooked?

                Personally no I don't think it is important.
                 

                vitafusion

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                  Do you feel that also increasing representation of African Americans doctors specifically is important in medicine as opposed to just focusing on increasing Black doctors overall?
                  This is an interesting point. As an AA, I personally do feel like it's important. Yes, in the end we're all black, but I do personally feel closer to people who have a similar background to me (family legacy from slavery, Jim Crow, family migrated from South, etc). I've heard my 1st and 2nd gen African immigrants friends say the same exact thing about feeling closer to other children of immigrants.

                  I do wonder why I've seen distinctions made on this board about different Hispanic groups, but if you bring up the distinctions between different black groups, everyone is just lumped together. Why does Mexican/Chilean/Colombian matter for hispanics when distinguishing URM, but Nigerian/AA/Jamaican all get lumped together? It doesn't make much sense honestly lol.

                  Also I found this article by Henry Louis Gates from the NY Times. It's kind of old, but touches on a lot of things you brought up in your post.

                   
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                  sa242

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                    Firstly, I think something that’s important to clarify in this discussion is that African and Caribbean immigrants/children of African and Caribbean immigrants ARE African Americans. Some of the language used in this thread sort of makes it sound like you don’t consider them to be, but I’m sure that’s not the case.

                    Secondly, this is a valid concern that I think stems back to intersectionality. I don’t think that medical schools are necessarily placing 1st/2nd gen immigrants over Black Americans, particularly because they wouldn’t often know whose who, but also because institutions do see us as a monolith, unfortunately. Black Americans face specific class and societal issues that tend to impact their education and ability to get ECs negatively, which I think is why they aren’t getting accepted at the same rates.

                    At the same time though, I don’t think at this moment I can say I trust admissions committees to adequately distinguish between different Black groups in the admissions process in a way that doesn’t end up reducing our numbers overall. However, I do think this issue stems further back than just the medical school admissions and is rather the compounding effects of other disadvantages that Black Americans tend to face over 1st/2nd generation AAs.

                    That being said, I do think that representation of Black people in medicine in general is important. While it makes sense that Black Americans would be able to relate more to a doctor that is also Black American, I would think that they would relate more to any Black doctor than a doctor of another race. It is up to us, the Black community, to make sure that we are acknowledging and uplifting all parts of our community. I think all of our representation is important since I’d like to think that 1st/2nd generation AA doctors are advocating for the Black community just as Black American doctors are.
                     

                    WhittyPsyche

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                      A lot of generalizations here. I am an Afro-Caribbean, and I do not consider myself African American. Many first generation folks of the black diaspora do not identify as African-American.

                      One thing to keep in mind as you look at historical data is that the data is only as good as the question asked. Early demographic surveys only had the option for “Black” then “Black/African-American”, then later Black/AA and subcategories for African, Sub categories for Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Latino are VERY new in epidemiology and in Med school demographic data. Yet, there has long been a history of black immigrants from the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe entering Medicine in the U.S. at various levels. So some of what you see as “decline” is actually reflective of more accurate data collection.

                      As far as whether specific representation is needed for AAs I agree that it is important and I also agree that the lived experience, particularly for low SES AAs, is unique. Many of us black immigrants are also low SES but I have seen that there are salient differences that may serve to lift immigrants (home structure, emphasis on education and belief in social climbing through education, levels of learned helplessness, generational support, etc). I think low SES AAs often have a much harder time overcoming systemic racism in education and childhood than immigrants. So yes, I do believe special attention should be paid to that group.

                      However, I don’t think changing admissions stats, and particularly your focus on top School’s having more immigrants, actually solves that problem. The entire diaspora is significantly underrepresented. Importantly you demonstrated the difference between AA applicants, not matriculants. Black immigrants aren’t taking spots from AAs in who gets accepted to Harvard or whatever. There is still a pipeline problem that needs serious work and many know this and are working on this. The problem isn’t the high stat 2nd Gen African Med students at Harvard though.
                       
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