Mistreatment in medical school leads students to leave, with students of color faring the worst

The link between discrimination and dropping out of medical school may be one reason the number of students from many groups underrepresented in medicine has declined.

Medical students who report being mistreated or discriminated against are far more likely to drop out of medical school, according to a study published Tuesday in JAMA Pediatrics.

Previous studies have linked discriminatory treatment in medical school to burnout and depression among students. The new paper is the first to link discrimination to medical school attrition, according to the authors, and it may be one reason the number of students from many racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in medicine has declined in recent decades despite efforts to diversify medical school classes and the profession in general.

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