The University of Massachusetts Has an Innovative New Plan to Increase the Racial Diversity of Its Medical School

About 16 percent of the population of the state of Massachusetts is either black or Hispanic. Yet only 5 percent of the physicians in the state are black or Hispanic.

In an effort to increase the number of minority doctors in the state, the University of Massachusetts Medical School is setting aside 12 places in each 125-member first-year class for students in a new program designed to increase racial diversity at the school. The new program will give high school seniors who are members of minority groups, or who are the first generation of their families to attend college, the opportunity to gain admission to college and medical school simultaneously. Students accepted into the program would study at one of the five undergraduate campuses of the University of Massachusetts. If they graduate and maintain a high academic standing, they would be guaranteed a spot at the medical school. Attractive financial aid packages will also be used to attract minority students to the program. Students applying for the program will sign a pledge to practice in Massachusetts after they complete medical school.