Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums
anbessa21

How Underrepresented Are African-Canadians In The Ontario Medical Student Cohort?

Recommended Posts

Thank you, I now have a new example of a prima facie answer.

 

Obviously, one with African heritage faces identical barriers to interview as those of any other ethnocultural denomination; however, off the record, once one has competed and gained an II, I find it difficult to believe this would not play a factor. Especially at school's with blatant diversification initiatives targeted at the black community.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, I now have a new example of a prima facie answer.

 

Obviously, one with African heritage faces identical barriers to interview as those of any other ethnocultural denomination; however, off the record, once one has competed and gained an II, I find it difficult to believe this would not play a factor. Especially at school's with blatant diversification initiatives targeted at the black community.  

There was an east african canadian guy I knew in my age range that went to UofT for undergrad, had a close to 4.0 GPA, interviewed at multiple schools - and only got into one of the wait list.  There is NO school in Canada, except Dalhousie (because of the historic discrimination against the long standing black community in Nova Scotia) that favours blacks at any stage of the admission process.  Canada is not like the USA at all.  In fact, because of regional preferences (ie Western, Ottawa historically, NOSM), small town whites actually get a sort of affirmative action (as they are also grossly underrepresented in medical school, and those communities are actually the most under serviced in Ontario).  And while 'blacks' as a whole are somewhat underrepresented, it's not as massive as you might think- and quite a few nigerian and ghanian canadians are in medical schools as well.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was an east african canadian guy I knew in my age range that went to UofT for undergrad, had a close to 4.0 GPA, interviewed at multiple schools - and only got into one of the wait list.  There is NO school in Canada, except Dalhousie (because of the historic discrimination against the long standing black community in Nova Scotia) that favours blacks at any stage of the admission process.  Canada is not like the USA at all.  In fact, because of regional preferences (ie Western, Ottawa historically, NOSM), small town whites actually get a sort of affirmative action (as they are also grossly underrepresented in medical school, and those communities are actually the most under serviced in Ontario).  And while 'blacks' as a whole are somewhat underrepresented, it's not as massive as you might think- and quite a few nigerian and ghanian canadians are in medical schools as well.  

Thank you for your note and pardon my ignorance; I was not aware. I guess when dealing with fierce competition, any (perceived) advantage, present or not, is a comforting (yet potentially detrimental) notion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To answer the title question, the only data I can find on this is almost 15 years old, but did indicate that compared to the proportion in the general population of a similar age, there are about half as many medical students of African descent. I'd be interested in seeing if anything's changed over that time period, but I suspect not. That's more than just being somewhat under-represented, unfortunately. Aboriginal Canadians, however, were reported with even worse representation in medical school, falling below the age-specific general population by a factor of over 6 - one part of the reason there are directed efforts by medical schools towards that population in particular.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To answer the title question, the only data I can find on this is almost 15 years old, but did indicate that compared to the proportion in the general population of a similar age, there are about half as many medical students of African descent. I'd be interested in seeing if anything's changed over that time period, but I suspect not. That's more than just being somewhat under-represented, unfortunately. Aboriginal Canadians, however, were reported with even worse representation in medical school, falling below the age-specific general population by a factor of over 6 - one part of the reason there are directed efforts by medical schools towards that population in particular.

Wow... with the history of Aboriginal relations and these statistics, it is no wonder that health outcomes with regards to the Aboriginal population are what they are. I'm glad that this has been realized and some form of systemic outreach has been put into practice to help mitigate this inequity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately no affirmative action for black candidates. I certainly do find them severely underrepresented. 

Probably related to disinterest for academic fields from black individuals in general. I'm not sure if social environments play a role, probably would. 

 

East/South Asians, Europeans, Jewish descents typically dominate academic fields most likely due to the entrainment by their parents that academia is king. Whereas I wonder if the emphasis of African-Canadian families is on non-academic fields such as arts, music, sports which they tend to excel in.

 

stereotypes have some truths in them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if this has been studied in any detail in Canada. In Ontario I believe there are about 12.5 million people, and roughly speaking about 500K people from African American background. Roughly then if all things were held equal there should be one in about 25 medical school applicants who would then African Canadian, and one in 25 who would be actual medical students.

 

That isn't actually all that many - I am a bit surprised actually. It would mean in my medical school class there would be 6-7 statistically speaking for instance.  

Edited by rmorelan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately no affirmative action for black candidates. I certainly do find them severely underrepresented. 

Probably related to disinterest for academic fields from black individuals in general. I'm not sure if social environments play a role, probably would. 

 

East/South Asians, Europeans, Jewish descents typically dominate academic fields most likely due to the entrainment by their parents that academia is king. Whereas I wonder if the emphasis of African-Canadian families is on non-academic fields such as arts, music, sports which they tend to excel in.

 

stereotypes have some truths in them.

The thing is, of all the second generation Afro-Canadian children I know (myself included), there is a perpetual sense that blacks do not make physicians (personally, we have never been seen by an African-Canadian physician in our lives). It is difficult to attempt to pursue something that you have been conditioned to believe is not attainable. Of course, socioeconomics come into play as well, but much of the issue is psychological. I do not blame any system or institution for this, nor am I advocating for any form of affirmative action (if anything, I believe AA should be given firstly to those who come from low SES backgrounds); I'm simply offering some reasons as to why African-Canadians on the whole are underrepresented in medicine. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing is, of all the second generation Afro-Canadian children I know (myself included), there is a perpetual sense that blacks do not make physicians (personally, we have never been seen by an African-Canadian physician in our lives). It is difficult to attempt to pursue something that you have been conditioned to believe is not attainable. Of course, socioeconomics come into play as well, but much of the issue is psychological. I do not blame any system or institution for this, nor am I advocating for any form of affirmative action (if anything, I believe AA should be given firstly to those who come from low SES backgrounds); I'm simply offering some reasons as to why African-Canadians on the whole are underrepresented in medicine. 

 

that does make sense - role models are important. One issue that will be on going though it that again roughly 4% of the population has that background. Even at parity there simply aren't going to be that many proportionally speaking - considering mostly young people don't see that many doctors as we are simply not likely to get ill, the vast majority of people will never see a doctor of Afro-Canadian background until they are way past the point that they would be deciding to go into medicine. Only way around that would be some form of mobilization of our existing doctors in some form of outreach.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

that does make sense - role models are important. One issue that will be on going though it that again roughly 4% of the population has that background. Even at parity there simply aren't going to be that many proportionally speaking - considering mostly young people don't see that many doctors as we are simply not likely to get ill, the vast majority of people will never see a doctor of Afro-Canadian background until they are way past the point that they would be deciding to go into medicine. Only way around that would be some form of mobilization of our existing doctors in some form of outreach.

Quite an excellent point; I do believe that mobilization of existing practitioners will become increasingly important, as the push for diversity in medicine has (rightfully) been galvanized in recent years. Perhaps this could spark interest in the clinical sciences amongst youth of underrepresented cohorts. However, I think that pushing for diversity becomes counter-intuitive when it compromises the quality of those recruited to train and practice medicine... when does accounting for prejudice or underrepresentation become actively prejudicial against those in the out-group? It is very difficult to strike a balance between appropriate representation and active bias. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quite an excellent point; I do believe that mobilization of existing practitioners will become increasingly important, as the push for diversity in medicine has (rightfully) been galvanized in recent years. Perhaps this could spark interest in the clinical sciences amongst youth of underrepresented cohorts. However, I think that pushing for diversity becomes counter-intuitive when it compromises the quality of those recruited to train and practice medicine... when does accounting for prejudice or underrepresentation become actively prejudicial against those in the out-group? It is very difficult to strike a balance between appropriate representation and active bias. 

 

true but we have hints - unless you believe that there is some form of intelligence or aptitude between races for lack of a better term then as long as proportionally fewer people from a particularly background are missing from medicine then we are likely leaving superior candidate on the sidelines. That in the long run would weaken the field let alone have overall impact on society (imbalance in society leads to unrest and instability - to some degree or other).

 

People can argue about if or how such a thing should be corrected - and well they do argue about that all the time.  I don't think actively revealing there are in fact a diverse mix of doctors is something we should be arguing about so. That goes for a lot of groups. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...