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Diversity in Medical Schools

The primary mission of medical education is to graduate physicians who are well prepared to care for the medical and personal health care needs of the community in which they will work. Since physicians will ultimately care for persons from diverse backgrounds—including differences in age, gender, culture, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, language, disabilities, and socioeconomic status—most medical schools take seriously the preparation of a physician workforce prepared to care for a diverse patient population.

The two most common strategies for creating this type of physician workforce are training a multicultural physician workforce and developing educational programs that promote cross-cultural understanding. A growing body of research has demonstrated that structural diversity, defined as student body composition, and interactional diversity, which encompasses the curricular and extracurricular opportunities for ...

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