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"Underrepresented"

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by terpgirl, Apr 18, 2004.

  1. terpgirl

    terpgirl Senior Member
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    Hey everyone. I had an interesting inquiry... I know that there are certain groups underrepresented in medicine and therefore are looked upon more favorably at admission time.

    Would a physical disability be one of those favorable things? I know you would HAVE to identify yourself on the application as being handicapped.

    And that's another thing. I've always been bothered as to the whole you can't be discriminated upon based on ethnicity/race, gender, handicap, etc--but why is is legal to ask race on an application (or birthplace, because if you look up where I was born it's a a whole bunch--99.99%--o white folks as far as the eye can see and further)? No, demographics isn't a good enough answer... I don't care if you need to report the whole "who applied here by catagory" that can be done totally separate from the application (1 part should go to records with your race/gender/handicap and the other part goes to the decision makers with NO identification as to your race/gener/handicap).

    Any thoughts?

    -Liz
     
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  3. willthatsall

    willthatsall Unretired
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    I don't really know, but it probably depends on what the handicap is. If it's something that could hinder your ability to be a physician, then it probably isn't a good thing.
     
  4. terpgirl

    terpgirl Senior Member
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    Nope, not talking a disability that would hinder performance as a physician. Looking at more of the milder physical ailments, but are severe enough to have had a profound impact on your life (physically, developmentally, socially, emotionally, mentally)... I have spina bifida if anyone is wondering.

    -Liz
     
  5. mikeyboy

    mikeyboy Senior Member
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    I don't think a physical disability is going to help. I wouldn't call, say, those missing an arm "underrepresented." It might help if someone had to overcome the disability to get to where he or she is, but then if its something that someone really has to overcome then it would probably affect one's ability as a physician.

    The argument for discriminating on the basis of race in admissions is that, for some groups, there are less minority doctors relative to the entire population, and the general population would probably be more comfortable with docts of their own race. Thus, medical schools want to find more doctors to fill that need, but cannot increase class sizes for various reasons, so they just give an advantage to those "underrepresented in medicine," as AMCAS puts it now. I don't agree with it, and ideally everything would be race-blind (and gender-blind), but there isn't much I can do about it.

     
  6. I once had a blind surgeon... :thumbup:
     
  7. felipe5

    felipe5 Fingerpickin' Good
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    hmmmmm, I think you bring up a great question. As far as I know, the term underrepresented refers to certain groups that, despite their relatively high population, don't have proportional representation in the sciences or medicine. Unfortunately, I think this definition leans heavily towards ethnicity and not towards disabled persons. Medical schools want to see if you are capable, both mentally and physically, to handle the rigors associated with medicine.....thus, being disabled could actually be a roadblock in the application process (that is, if your disability could/would interfere with your ability to learn/practice medicine). But what if it doesn't impede with these abilites? Wouldn't that put the practioner at an advantage to form great relationships with their patients?

    I am a hispanic applicant, and one of the reasons that I look forward to practicing medicine and serving other underserved populations (such as hispanics) is because I may be able to connect with them on a different level......I know what life as a latino can be like (family, culture, traditions etc) and thus hispanic patients may be more comfortable to form a fiduciary relationship with me. This same thing could happen with handicapped practioners and their patients........so you see, this whole issue of underrepresentation and affirmative action is a touchy one. You can throw stuff at it from all angles, and it still ends up being as controversial as ever. Do a search on SDN about this topic and you'll see what I mean. Great question by the way :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
     
  8. Ryo-Ohki

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    --Does being disabled help one empathize with disabled people (a significant population of medical patients)?
    Yes

    --Does being disabled increase the "diversity" of a class?
    Yes

    --Are disabled people discriminated against in society?
    Yes

    --Is there historical discrimination against disabled persons?
    Yes

    I can't wait someone files a lawsuit based on Grutter. Ah, Sandra, that's what you get for playing word games. I only wish you could live 25 more years to see the mess that your lack of principle created.
     
  9. exmike

    exmike NOR * CAL
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    I think the underrepresnted refers to ethnicity - at least that is what the spirit of the AAMC catergory is. Even with this new "Underrepresented in medicine" PC definition, it is still essentially a race category, just semantics.

    I think your struggle with SB will probably strike a chord with many admissions committees. They love people who overcome personal struggles. I personally would advise against listing yourself as "underrepresented", as it might give the impression that you are trying to excuse any academic flaws (even if the syndrome actually caused academic problems).

    Imagine the chaos that could happen if general physical conditions could be categorized as "underrepresented". Do people that get in car accidents during college get to list themselves as "underrepresented"? Without a doubt their physical incapacitation from the accident would have affected their academics. Where would we draw the line?

    Your disability is something you should underscore in yoru application. The very fact that you've overcome it and applied ot medical school speaks volumes more about your aptitude and motivation than any AMCAS categorization will say.
     
  10. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    Actually it depends on the school. I just got back from the Vandy 2nd look and talking to the deans they mentioned how they want a very diverse class. Diverse to them is in all ways to include different races, religions, marital status, economic status, where you went to school, etc...Vandy will be able to accomplish this. There were folks from every conceivable background and walk of life.
     

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