Public Release: 

Is medical school only for the rich?

Canadian Medical Association Journal

Irfan Dhalla and colleagues surveyed first-year medical students and compared their demographic and socioeconomic profiles with Statistics Canada data. They found that Canadian medical students differ significantly from the general population in terms of ethnic background and socioeconomic status.

From the 981 (80.2%) responses received from first-year students attending 1 of the 12 medical schools outside Quebec, the authors found there were more people from visible minorities in medical school than in the Canadian population (32.4% v. 20.0%), but certain minority groups (black and Aboriginal) were underrepresented. The authors also report that medical students are less likely to come from a rural area (10.8% v. 22.4%) and were more likely to have higher socioeconomic status.

The authors warn their findings are similar to data released in the mid-1960s and state: "That the magnitude of the socioeconomic difference between medical students and the general Canadian population has changed so little must be viewed as disappointing."

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p. 1029 Characteristics of first-year students in Canadian medical schools

-- I.A. Dhalla et al

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