The authors first review the national debate about affirmative action programs, examine the results of these programs in higher education, and present data from 1995 through 1999 for minority enrollment in U.S., California, and Texas medical schools. Population projections for the state of Texas indicate a national trend that minority groups will outnumber the current majority early in the new millennium. A brief review of studies of the practice patterns of minority physicians concludes that minority physicians serve patients of their own races and/or ethnicities, poor patients, and Medicaid patients in disproportion to their numbers.
This rationale, as well as the humanitarian need to develop all persons to their highest potential, led the Texas A&M University Health Science Center College of Medicine to develop a race-neutral process for admission. Changes in the admission process are described and preliminary results are presented. This article is written to stimulate other medical colleges to engage in an ongoing dialog about admission criteria and processes that can effectively select applicants who fit the mission of each medical college and who, as physicians, will care for patients who are members of this country's burgeoning minority groups.