There are now more ethnic minorities than ever in American medical schools. According to an article by Carolyne Krupa in American Medical News:

Looking at allopathic schools’ minority enrollment, there are 1,539 first-year Hispanic students this year, up 9.1% over 2009. The number of black medical students rose to 1,350, a 2.9% increase from 2009. The number of Native Americans or Alaskan Natives rose to 191, a 24.8% jump from last year.

That means that these minorities now account for about 16 percent of all first-year medical students. According to one doctor interviewed for the article, this is a positive development, as the country is increasingly diverse. It’s good to treat American communities using doctors who reflect the diversity of those communities.

Medical schools are anxious to attract more diverse candidates to apply and have begun trying to attract and prepare students as early as elementary school. It’s a tough job, however, especially since many of these minorities are from poor families and often attend some pretty bad schools. The vast majority of medical school applicants, in contrast, come from reasonably wealthy families. Almost 80 percent come from families in the top 40 percent of the American income scale.

Asian Americans now make up almost 23 percent of first-year medical students, though only 4 percent of the U.S. population.

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer