Should Efforts in Favor of Medical Student Diversity Be Focused During Admissions or Farther Upstream?

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Abstract

Purpose

Traditional medical school admissions assessment tools may be limiting diversity. This study investigates whether the Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI) is diversity-neutral and, if so, whether applying it with greater weight would dilute the anticipated negative impact of diversity-limiting admissions measures.

Method

Interviewed applicants to six medical schools in 2008 and 2009 underwent MMI. Predictor variables of MMI scores, grade point average (GPA), and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores were correlated with diversity measures of age, gender, size of community of origin, income level, and self-declared aboriginal status. A subset of the data was then combined with variable weight assigned to predictor variables to determine whether weighting during the applicant selection process would affect diversity among chosen applicants.

Results

MMI scores were unrelated to gender, size of community of origin, and income level. They correlated positively with age and negatively with aboriginal status. GPA and MCAT correlated negatively with age and aboriginal status, GPA correlated positively with income level, and MCAT correlated positively with size of community of origin. Even extreme combinations of MMI and GPA weightings failed to increase diversity among applicants who would be selected on the basis of weighted criteria.

Conclusions

MMI could not neutralize the diversity-limiting properties of academic scores as selection criteria to interview. Using academic scores in this way causes range restriction, counteracting attempts to enhance diversity using downstream admissions selection measures such as MMI. Diversity efforts should instead be focused upstream. These results lend further support for the development of pipeline programs.

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