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Researchers Identify Variables Tied to Med Student Outcomes

Last Updated: September 14, 2010.

Race/ethnicity, debt load, and admissions test score all appear to have an impact on a medical student's likelihood of graduating from medical school and passing the licensing exams, according to research published in the Sept. 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

TUESDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Race/ethnicity, debt load, and admissions test score all appear to have an impact on a medical student's likelihood of graduating from medical school and passing the licensing exams, according to research published in the Sept. 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dorothy A. Andriole, M.D., and Donna B. Jeffe, Ph.D., of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, examined 1994 to 1999 data on a cohort of 97,445 matriculants, followed up through March 2, 2009, to identify the prematriculation and demographic factors associated with sub-optimal outcomes.

The researchers found that 74,494 of 84,018 matriculants graduated and had passing scores at first attempt on the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK); 6,743 graduated but did not have passing CK scores the first time around; 1,049 withdrew or were dismissed for academic reasons; and 1,732 withdrew or were dismissed for non-academic reasons. Lower scores on the Medical College Admission Test, premedical debt of $50,000 or greater, and nonwhite race/ethnicity all were independently associated with a higher likelihood of academic dismissal or withdrawal and of graduation without receiving passing Step 1 and Step 2 CK scores on the first attempt.

"U.S. medical schools accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education are currently in a period of concerted efforts to increase enrollment and diversity of enrollees. These results regarding prematriculation variables associated with suboptimal medical school outcomes may help inform these endeavors," the authors conclude.

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