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Presentation: 5:40

Poster attached as supplemental file below


Ensuring diversity in race, ethnicity, gender identity, language, and sexual orientation is crucial for cultivating a healthcare landscape that is culturally competent and unbiased. The physician workforce's failure to mirror the population's demographics in the United States continues to present a significant public health challenge. Recognizing that disparities in healthcare outcomes often stem from systemic inequities and lack of representation, medical institutions have increasingly prioritized the integration of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) principles into their curricula, admissions processes, and institutional frameworks. Through a cross-sectional survey approved by the Institutional Review Board, we examined perspectives on DEI initiatives among allopathic and osteopathic U.S. medical students and admissions officers. Medical students were recruited via medical-related social media (e.g., MedTwitter, GroupMe, Instagram, Facebook), while admissions officers were recruited via email. Additionally, snowball sampling was utilized, and diversity officers from U.S. medical schools were enlisted to distribute the survey. Sixty-four medical students and thirty-two admissions officers, representing diverse ages and experience levels, participated in the study. Participants agreed on the need to enhance DEI initiatives, particularly in scholarship and funding. Notably, more than half of the medical students surveyed (N=46) perceived institutional efforts to promote cultural diversity as poor or fair, whereas half of the admissions officers (N=20) rated these efforts as very good or excellent. Despite limitations posed by a modest sample size and potential lack of generalizability, this study underscores the imperative for further research to delve into the differing perceptions of DEI initiatives among both groups.

Lay Summary

Making sure there is a variety of people from different races, backgrounds, genders, languages, and sexual orientations is really important in healthcare. Having a healthcare team that's made up of different kinds of people can make patients healthier and happier and give everyone better access to care, especially those who are often left out. This helps doctors and other healthcare providers understand and respect their patients' cultures and backgrounds and provide better care. There is a gap between the people who work as healthcare providers and those who are cared for. To tackle this, medical schools and hospitals are trying harder to include Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) principles in their teaching and how they select students. We wanted to understand what medical students and admissions officers thought about these efforts. We asked 64 medical students and 32 admissions officers about their views. They all agreed that we need to do more to make healthcare more diverse and inclusive, especially when it comes to scholarships and funding. Interestingly, most of the medical students we asked thought that their schools were not doing a great job promoting diversity, while many admissions officers felt their institutions were doing well. Even though our study had limitations, like having a small number of people involved, we must look more closely at how different people see these DEI efforts. We need more research to understand why medical students and admissions officers feel differently by understanding the culture and history of medicine, personal experiences, or how much both groups appreciate efforts to make healthcare more diverse.