TUESDAY, Jan. 25, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The proportion of internal medicine (IM) applicants and matriculants who identify as underrepresented in medicine (UIM) remained low during 2010 to 2018, according to a research letter published online Jan. 25 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Joanna Liao, from the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, and colleagues examined trends in representation of IM residency applicants and matriculants who identified as UIM using data obtained from the Association of American Medical Colleges for residency programs between July 2010 and July 2018.

The researchers found that during the study period, there were 214,656 unique applicants to IM residency programs and 87,489 matriculants; 13.2 and 10.6 percent of the applicants and matriculants, respectively, identified as a UIM race/ethnicity. The proportion of aggregate UIM applicants increased minimally but significantly (slope, 0.34). A significant increase was seen only for applicants who were Black or African American and those who were Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish origin in a stratified analysis (slopes, 0.11 and 0.22, respectively). A similar minimal but significant slope was seen for the proportion of aggregate UIM matriculants (slope, 0.11). A significant change was only seen in the proportion of matriculants who were Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish origin (slope, 0.13). Every year, the proportion of Whites was higher among matriculants than applicants; for example, in 2018, 31.8 and 40.0 percent of applicants and matriculants, respectively, identified as White.

“Diversifying IM residencies will require dramatic, innovative approaches before, during, and after the application process,” the authors write.

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