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Does anyone ever get an interview/acceptance with a wGPA in the low 3.8s?


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32 minutes ago, Neutral1234 said:

 

I also know someone who applied through BSAP and got into U of T med with a GPA of 3.6-3.7 this coming year. Very great guy and would make an excellent doctor. For me personally, I don't have anything against the BSAP.

However, I would think its not fair to the rest of the applicant to say that the GPA requirement is just as high as non-BSAP applicants. It's about honest and transparent and not about denial. I personally don't think there's much different in terms of intellect between an individual with 3.6, 3.7, 3.8,3.9+ GPA. Anyone with such high GPA would make an excellent doctor! There's a lot of factors that also matter like personality. I think these are a lot more important than GPA.

Precisely, got nothing against the BSAP application. I think it's particularly distasteful for those to be hating on @rcmp1234 for no reason, as they literally just stated that its possible to get into UofT Med with a lower GPA through BSAP. Are there people applying through BSAP who have 3.9+ gpa? Absolutely! 

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All these posts speaking against BSAP and other forms of "affirmative action" and we have yet to see a single factual piece of statistics to prove that favoring black applicants or other applicants fr

To be honest, it's not really clear to me that a person with a 3.9 will automatically be a better physician than someone with a 3.7 anyway.  I get that that feels really unfair when you're the person

Sorry for the late reply, I've been away from this forum for a bit. Thank you so much for the book recommendation, it seems very intriguing and it being from a Canadian perspective I think will help m

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14 hours ago, ellorie said:

To be honest, it's not really clear to me that a person with a 3.9 will automatically be a better physician than someone with a 3.7 anyway.  I get that that feels really unfair when you're the person with the 3.9 that you've worked your ass off to get, thinking about not being chosen over someone with a 3.7, and I also think there's some truth to the idea that a 3.9 and a 3.7 aren't that different.  For one thing, GPA isn't exactly impervious to manipulation.  I got into medical school with a 3.8 - I was a double major and my GPA in one of my majors was about 3.95 and in the other was about 3.7.  I worked equally hard on both.  Just by choosing a different degree to do, I could have finished my bachelor's degree with either a 3.7 or a 3.95 GPA - and I would still be the same equally smart person working equally hard.

It seems to me that there are two aspects to it:

1) Black applicants (even those who are privileged in other ways, e.g. by way of gender or socioeconomic status) face systemic barriers to academic success such that actually, a lower GPA does not represent less intelligence or less suitability for a career in medicine but rather the impact of systemic marginalization and racism.  Therefore from an equity versus equality standpoint, accepting a lower GPA makes sense and is not actually indicative of accepting someone less qualified.  I hear what you're saying that different people experience different levels of marginalization due to other intersecting identities, and I still think that the role of systemic racism is important even in people who are privileged in other areas.  Also, while I do need to educate myself more on this to be able to speak about it knowledgeably, I have read some arguments that the degree and type of marginalization faced by Black people differs from other POC, partly due to the legacy of slavery in North America, and therefore requires particular consideration, and that made sense to me.  That said, of course working on appropriate inclusion of folks from other marginalized communities is also very important.

2) Increasing the number of Black physicians serves the Canadian public on a number of important levels, and Black physicians have unique contributions to make to the medical system that should also be considered in the admissions process, not only as some sort of "justification" for lower GPA but as an important qualification in and of itself.  I would imagine that the essay and interview component of BSAP would serve to clarify this further.

I think the murder of George Floyd in the US has made it very clear that systemic racism needs to be addressed with systemic solutions.  As a white physician I absolutely want to educate myself and work on myself to be able to provide the best care possible to my Black patients, and at the same time I also think that having more Black physicians is extremely important on both macro and micro levels.

 

this!!!

i also want to note something i was told by a mentor when preparing for interviews: ultimately, ontario med schools want to select applicants who will best serve the population in ontario. that's why NOSM primarily accepts candidates from the north, for example - because we need more physicians who are willing to work in northern & rural areas. is it "fair" to ontario applicants from big cities that we have no chance of getting accepted to NOSM? not necessarily.

similarly, certain races/ethnicities are underrepresented in the current pool of ontario physicians. there's been a lot of research showing that cultural divides between patient & provider can and does lead to lower quality healthcare. i think that, as a province, we are striving for health equity for all members of our diverse population - and as such, it is beneficial for the population as a whole to have more diverse healthcare providers. it may not feel "fair" to us, but that's not the purpose of the med school selection process.

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5 hours ago, AB27 said:

The root issues being systemic racism? The education system should most definitely be improved. From what I understand, in the US (maybe here too?) schools are funded by the taxes of the district. With higher proportions of African Americans in poorer areas this leads to less education funding and often a poorer quality of education for AAs. This is only one factor that may affect how many go on to higher education and would require much more work to change than it takes to implement a quota. Not to mention the lack of connections and free time for unpaid activities that are so crucial to the application. But beyond the many factors of the systemic side of racism, there are the general biases that people hold against minorities which the BSAP attempts to factor out. If we agree that all races are inherently equally capable of becoming good doctors, why are certain groups consistently underrepresented in medical classes? 

Different cultural norms and interests can lead to different outcomes.  What society wants is equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.  Should the fact that very few second generation asians work as construction workers or firefighters be a concern?  I guarantee that the cultural norm is too AVOID such work.  I'm sure some of my south asian friends would DREAM to have even a single person of their ancestry in the NBA or MLB.  Yet there is none - and it likely has to do as much with cultural issues, interests or even genetics (few south asians are very tall quite frankly, or innately muscular or naturally athletic as one of my south asian co-residents often exclaims in defending his dad bod).  The best solution is to increase interest in younger age groups, and make sure people excell at all levels of education.  Not simply be given a massive bump at this level.  People are quiet about this of course - but there is HUGE concern that what UofT is doing is going to create the same system that exists in the USA.  Where people treat black medical students and residents as being less capable, and because the treshold for admission is so much lower, sadly the stereotype feeds into reality and vice versa.  I'm a UofT resident - and when it comes to issues like this, privately many people are conflicted and angry, but we keep our mouth shut knowing full well that we could be punished for even questioning the system.

I think the BSAP is one of the best solutions at the university level. Rather than lowering the requirements (which may be harmful to the individuals it aims to help) the focus is on having reviewers/ interviewers of the same race who are more likely to understand the applicant's background and minimize bias. White applicants are statistically likely to be afforded this courtesy through the regular application stream. I also think I read an article on the program that said applications had increased after its introduction which is great. The only stated benefit of the program is to directly remove bias and encourage applications. Neither of these things should offend anybody.  

The standards have been lowered.  This is not even really hidden - there are plenty of UofT staff that will admit it.  The low treshold on paper (3.6) was set to allow for rare exceptional candidates that didn't have near 4.0 GPAs.  Getting into UofT without an adjusted GPA of 3.95 or higher is close to impossible.  The number of such students is relatively rare.  The number of aGPA with over 3.6, especially in grade inflated Ontario where any program counts, is innumerable.  It's a big difference.  And I know that while UofT is working hard at helping the admitted students for meds 2022 and meds 2023 in the BSAP program (which is good) - many have had significant struggles while few students outside the program have.  Once we get the LMCC steps 1 and 2 - we may start running into the same issues that exist in the USA for differential outcomes by ethnicity (which don't exist at the moment as affirmative action is relatively new to Canada - excluding aboroginals).  How this helps society in the long run is not good - but I fear this sort of do-gooderism will lead to more subtle biases.  People will start to view Canadian graduates of black background as less capable - including the very liberal people that support the program publicly.  I see this hypocrisy all the time at work among my liberal MD colleagues (both residents and staff of all ethnicities).  People talking about how BLM is so important, and then talking about how hard it is to buy a suitable house in a good school district (READ - few blacks or immigrants) - which of course contributes to some of the issues we have in differential outcomes.  

 

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Also, I am a 2nd gen Canadian on my black side. My ancestors were slaves. Black people have had to pull themselves up from bad situations in many countries, not just the US. The individuals who imposed said situations, in most cases, also formed the foundations of those countries. Systemic racism (towards blacks) is not just an American problem although I would think it is worse there it is very present in Canada.

I'm part Metis - some of my ansestors lost all their land and their language (they ended up speaking french in manitoba).  Doesn't mean Canada today is the same as it was in the 1800s.  Your black slave ancestors didn't migrate to Canada.  Your mom or dad did (or perhaps one set of grandparents), because modern Canada is a country that affords opportunity to all.  Why they would move to a country with what they think is entrenched racism is beyond me?  Can't imagine too many jewish people chose to move to Germany in 1936.

And all this "white minority" stuff is interesting. What exactly are whites "on their way out" of? The positions of majority/ power they've held historically off the backs of minorities? White people will most assuredly be able to find a doctor who understands "white culture", white doctors are available pretty much everywhere and barring that, almost all of us grew up in this culture. Please understand the word minority has more weight that a mathematical term, there is an implication of power imbalances as well as historical context. Changing demographics is not particularly amazing, but the result of clear trends in immigration, birth rates etc. Maybe a little more amazing is that we now have the opportunity to learn about so many different cultures and their perspectives on healthcare and the challenges they face.

Whites have low fertility, and in Canada, their percentage is rapidly dropping.  Most immigrants are non-white.  Most graduates in science and medicine programs are Asian.  As a result, the culture of Canada is rapidly changing.  Which is fine - though the majority ethnic groups of most other countries outside Western Europe or the West in general (ie Japan, Korea, China, Poland, Hungary) have largely resisted mass migration because they do want their culture to remain a bit more static.  In many small towns in SWO, where whites are the mass majority, the doctors are almost all non-white and recent immigrants.  These people often don't have quick assess to labs, or CTs, or specialists.  So no...not every white person can get a white doctor (not that it should matter), and large numbers have really inadequate care.  Perhaps travel a little outside your big city coccoon.

 

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27 minutes ago, uwopremed said:

 

 

I come from a pretty small town (yes there are some black ppl in the sticks) and have lived in multiple cities and countries, I'm far from cocooned :). Lack of small-town access to care is something that schools are working to fix (NOSM obv and a few western schools have rural pathways) and is rather unrelated to the BSAP.  Access to doctors of similar backgrounds is I think an important factor healthcare, I'm not super educated on this though. And regarding keeping a culture static, I really like experiencing/ learning about other cultures and I think it's important to hold on to ones culture but also recognize that change is inherent to it. 

I am in no way saying Canada is like the 1800s. People move countries for a variety of reasons, I would hope obtaining a better life was not my parents primary goal in moving here as that would be a little shady given the whole idea was to get married cause love or something. Canada is not the most racist country IMO, doesn't change the fact that systemic racism exists here and many places in different forms. This is why equality of opportunity is just not a thing in practice. If black folks are striving for medicine less because they're somehow genetically predisposed cool, don't think so, but cool. If it is because of a cultural issue I think we need to examine how that is shaped by history and the dominant culture. The other side is whether or not the outcomes are better or worse for the healthcare system. I don't think its anyone's goal to produce incompetent black physicians rather the focus in selecting med students should be on patient care. And how much do grades really matter in producing good doctors? I complain about the focus on ECs when more direct metrics like gpa and the MCAT are available but in the end it seems med school is not THAT intellectually demanding. Most people I've heard from say it is a lot of work but not necessarily inherently harder in concepts. Some schools have like 3.0 cutoffs with a few people getting in around there every year. The cutoff for being a good doc is not 3.95. I agree with you that affirmative action is not an optimal choice, but I think what U of T is doing is better than nothing. For real change to occur we would need a lot of people willing to put the effort in to help as opposed to moaning about the issues with the current provisions.

On a side note, what do you think of the indigenous-focused initiatives?

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1 hour ago, AB27 said:

I come from a pretty small town (yes there are some black ppl in the sticks) and have lived in multiple cities and countries, I'm far from cocooned :). Lack of small-town access to care is something that schools are working to fix (NOSM obv and a few western schools have rural pathways) and is rather unrelated to the BSAP.  Access to doctors of similar backgrounds is I think an important factor healthcare, I'm not super educated on this though. And regarding keeping a culture static, I really like experiencing/ learning about other cultures and I think it's important to hold on to ones culture but also recognize that change is inherent to it. 

I am in no way saying Canada is like the 1800s. People move countries for a variety of reasons, I would hope obtaining a better life was not my parents primary goal in moving here as that would be a little shady given the whole idea was to get married cause love or something. Canada is not the most racist country IMO, doesn't change the fact that systemic racism exists here and many places in different forms. This is why equality of opportunity is just not a thing in practice. If black folks are striving for medicine less because they're somehow genetically predisposed cool, don't think so, but cool. If it is because of a cultural issue I think we need to examine how that is shaped by history and the dominant culture. The other side is whether or not the outcomes are better or worse for the healthcare system. I don't think its anyone's goal to produce incompetent black physicians rather the focus in selecting med students should be on patient care. And how much do grades really matter in producing good doctors? I complain about the focus on ECs when more direct metrics like gpa and the MCAT are available but in the end it seems med school is not THAT intellectually demanding. Most people I've heard from say it is a lot of work but not necessarily inherently harder in concepts. Some schools have like 3.0 cutoffs with a few people getting in around there every year. The cutoff for being a good doc is not 3.95. I agree with you that affirmative action is not an optimal choice, but I think what U of T is doing is better than nothing. For real change to occur we would need a lot of people willing to put the effort in to help as opposed to moaning about the issues with the current provisions.

On a side note, what do you think of the indigenous-focused initiatives?

One of the more interesting things that I've noted, and I'm curious if you have as well, is that black students from the sticks seem to do much better academically than peers in the big city.  Partially it's probably because their parents are professionals - but I've noticed this not uncommonly.  As a result, maybe they tend to be more wordly to begin with (compared to their fellow white villagers).  I'm talking small northern towns, or places like Kingston or Cambridge. 

I'm comfortable with some indigenous-focused initiatives.  Reservations are even more underserviced than small towns.  But at my school, unfortunately, many of the students admitted through that program (though not all) have not done that well academically.  As a result, Western seems to now be much  stricter with at least the MCAT requirements for the indigenous pool (few if any students will be considered with <50 percentile scores according to updated guidelines) to make sure admitted candidates are capable of doing the work and passing.  The aboriginal population around London is not as large or as dense as other parts of the country though - so recruitment is somewhat limited that way.  The pool is larger in places like UManitoba, UCalgary and U Alberta, though I can't comment on how well they perform academically.

Med school is not hard, per ce, but it's not really super easy either.  There were several exams where relatively bright students failed, and had to repeat.  During clerkship, people having to remediate is not rare.  Occasionally people get held back - but the vast majority make it through. But I feel that the school doesn't really have it to actually kick someone out (unless they do something professionally bad like ask out a patient (it's happened believe it or not)).  I feel a few students that graduated in my class should not be practicing - all UWO 2019 people know what im talking about.  They will likely run into issues in the real practicing world - but not before possibly hurting some people.  This is true for all medical schools - if anything, I'd say Western is more strict than most other medical schools (looking at MAC!).

Look, I do think we need to find ways to increase the number of black people in large urban medical schools (Toronto and UdeMontreal).  But I'm concerned that such dramatic lowering of standards top get there is not the way to go.  Once we go this way, it can never be removed.  Affirmative Action will never be removed in the USA for example.   If there is a big difference in LMCC pass rates noted in the next decade, I'm actually feeling it could backfire.  

I wish you the best in your studies!

 

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My father is in trades, I'm actually the first in my fam to do any post-secondary. My situation is probably an outlier overall though, higher education was actively discouraged in my household. Tbh there were like 2 other black people in my high school and most of the black premeds I've met are from the city so I haven't noticed much of a trend, very limited sample size though. Makes sense though, higher-class/ professionals are probably going to emphasize education.

I haven't thought of it that way but I guess it is hard to phase out affirmative action, its a bandage solution and the big guys can say they're doing something without putting in the effort and working on the core problems. From what you're saying re the indigenous application programs it's not a clear cut issue, there are pros and cons and it kinda depends on whether the benefits outweigh the costs which is at least a bit subjective.

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6 hours ago, FingersCrossedPls said:

I don’t know enough to give a whole history lecture on this topic but from microagressions to full on systemic racism almost every non-white group has faced the backlash of racist ideology on which many countries were built; Canada included. However, I would like to point out that Black people are still HUGELY underrepresented in medicine! This discussion surrounding whether or not Black people in Canada have been oppressed enough to deserve having a system in place to ensure that they can treat their own community is so strange to me. I’m not sure what the people on this thread (presumably white or non-black) would have liked to have happened to Black people in order for Black people to warrant this program, but I also probably don’t want to know. If any other ethnicity/race becomes significantly underrepresented I would truly hope they would do the same for them. It’s very clear on the website that there is no quota, so they must admit the candidates who they deem as a quality applicant through the program, and thus admitting more black students doesn’t suggest that seats are being taken away from more-qualified non-black students, but perhaps that this year there was many amazing black students. 
 

As a side note: white people have been getting advantages in STEM for a very long time (connections to the field, non-discriminatory questions during interviews, no subconscious prejudice) and the fact that BSAP and ISAP have been created to help lower these barriers is incredible. Unfortunately, many people (certainly not implying you because you seemed very respectful in your post) will always be upset to see black people win for once.

Thank you for sharing your view. I understand now that underrepresentation is a key issue for several Canadian populations, but prominently for Black Canadians. I agree it's important for representation to be similar in healthcare and the general/patient population, and that the BSAP is a much needed first step for this to start taking place. I see that an argument such as "but there are so many underrepresented Canadian groups, why Black Canadians" is stupid because if change can't even take place for the most significantly underrepresented population, of course it can't happen for the other underrepresented groups. Regarding the barriers that Black people and other minorities continue to face, I definitely think it's difficult for me to appreciate that aspect as someone who is White, but I will aim to be better by at least acknowledging the privileges that I've had my whole life and opening my eyes to the way other populations are treated.

I also agree with some other commenters that the excessive focus on the GPAs of BSAP applicants is concerning. I'm certain that UofT would not admit anyone who is not an absolutely stellar applicant. Yes, maybe some to-be matriculants did not have a 3.9+ GPA, but that doesn't mean they weren't outstanding in other aspects (essays, ECs, references). Therefore, personally I don't think that publishing the numbers would achieve "transparency" or really anything other than additional hostility towards the BSAP program and Black applicants/matriculants.

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1 hour ago, kiara said:

Thank you for sharing your view. I understand now that underrepresentation is a key issue for several Canadian populations, but prominently for Black Canadians. I agree it's important for representation to be similar in healthcare and the general/patient population, and that the BSAP is a much needed first step for this to start taking place. I see that an argument such as "but there are so many underrepresented Canadian groups, why Black Canadians" is stupid because if change can't even take place for the most significantly underrepresented population, of course it can't happen for the other underrepresented groups. Regarding the barriers that Black people and other minorities continue to face, I definitely think it's difficult for me to appreciate that aspect as someone who is White, but I will aim to be better by at least acknowledging the privileges that I've had my whole life and opening my eyes to the way other populations are treated.

I also agree with some other commenters that the excessive focus on the GPAs of BSAP applicants is concerning. I'm certain that UofT would not admit anyone who is not an absolutely stellar applicant. Yes, maybe some to-be matriculants did not have a 3.9+ GPA, but that doesn't mean they weren't outstanding in other aspects (essays, ECs, references). Therefore, personally I don't think that publishing the numbers would achieve "transparency" or really anything other than additional hostility towards the BSAP program and Black applicants/matriculants.

Thank you for your allyship and thorough reflection of the issue, it means a lot to many BIPOC and is inspirational to many white allies and soon-to-be-allies. I think the self-conversation around privilege is needed to be had now more than ever, and I am very happy to see it taking hold. I myself have benefited greatly from privileges that fellow black peers have not (male privilege, cis-privilege etc.), but it doesn't make me any less black. It just irks me when I read comments from presumably non-black people about what they deem to be acceptable levels of struggle for other ethnic/racial groups to warrant the need for representation. Queer representation, indigenous representation (and until recently within the last couple decades, female representation) is greatly needed within science and medicine and I will be championing for those avenues as well. The idea that more for others means less for you is outdated, and I am glad there are people like you who are moving forward to change that. :) When UofT says they take a holistic approach, I fully believe them :) 

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7 hours ago, AB27 said:

My father is in trades, I'm actually the first in my fam to do any post-secondary. My situation is probably an outlier overall though, higher education was actively discouraged in my household. Tbh there were like 2 other black people in my high school and most of the black premeds I've met are from the city so I haven't noticed much of a trend, very limited sample size though. Makes sense though, higher-class/ professionals are probably going to emphasize education.

I haven't thought of it that way but I guess it is hard to phase out affirmative action, its a bandage solution and the big guys can say they're doing something without putting in the effort and working on the core problems. From what you're saying re the indigenous application programs it's not a clear cut issue, there are pros and cons and it kinda depends on whether the benefits outweigh the costs which is at least a bit subjective.

It is very unique to hear your views and experience, thank you for sharing them. As a side note, I was wondering why higher education is not encouraged in the households of black people. I am genuinely curious to know this. As someone of Asian descent and a minority, all I have ever heard of from Asian families, whether from Eastern Asia or South Asia, is how much they value higher education, and how important it is to work hard and attain reputable carriers, and to be successful, especially in countries like USA and Canada. I am assuming that any family would want their children to work hard, be successful, and try and attain reputable carriers, where they can earn a good income and be well off. In that case, I have heard from my black peers as well, that it is frowned upon for them to achieve higher education or successful carriers, while that is the opposite for other minorities usually, and I was genuinely curious as to why. I feel that affirmative action and all of these opportunities would not successfully work, if the drive to attain these professions is frowned upon in these households, and comes from the inner selves. However, I do understand multiple outside influences as well, and how oppression against black and First Nations communities have hardwired these feelings into those people for generations, but I was wondering if there are other reasons within their own communities as well.

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On 6/8/2020 at 9:05 PM, Tofino said:

BSAP applicants receive offers of admission by their own merit -  to suggest otherwise is honestly just thinly veiled racism.

 @FingersCrossedPls I am looking forward to being your classmate come August!

The admissions pools are different (as they are for aboriginal students - of which i have ancestry and relatives on one side of the family).  So yes, people admitted within separate groups got in on their own merit, but their self identification or proven identification with one group provided a massive boost.  Most BSAP admits, if they were Asian or East Indian, simply would not have had a file review. That's just reality.  Some people support such initiatives and think they are important for society, others don't think they address the root problems of bias in elementary school or even earlier - and just mask society's issues by providing some good public PR 'look we are doing something'.  They can also potentially increase stereotyping.  Malcolm Gladwell touched on some of these issues indirectly in David and Goliath.  Similar initiatives have not helped improve public health for ethnic minorities in the  USA - in fact, in some aspects, things have got quite worse.

Of note, I received a full warning for my posts above for not creating a safe space for people of colour.  While my posts are more centrist and even center right than left, and were critical of some aspects of BSAP, I do think warnings for slightly deviant political opinion on a premed forum is quite shocking.  I've privately helped countless students through PMs over the last 6 years of all backgrounds on this site.  I think bullying people to accept a single narrative on any issue (excluding outright bullying or racism of course) is shocking.  It helps drive moderates and dissenters underground, and to some degree even helps radicalize people.  

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On a total aside, something I think that provides an even more unfair advantage on balance to society, simply because of how large the program is, is McMaster Health Sciences.  The program is chock full of privileged Asian, White and East Indian kids - who essentially are given a near free ride in terms of GPA.  The 4.0s are everywhere.  Countless such students get admitted into UofT every year (largest source by far).  Reforming or reevaluating how such programs promote privilege is also very important.  To be honest, the segregation rampant in similar programs likely also contributed to black underrepresentation in school.

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All these posts speaking against BSAP and other forms of "affirmative action" and we have yet to see a single factual piece of statistics to prove that favoring black applicants or other applicants from marginalized backgrounds actually resulted in ANY lower outcome in licensing exams or healthcare outcome.

We have no actual knowledge into how applicants to BSAP are assessed aside from the fact that they will be paired with interviewers of their own race to prevent implicit bias. You're making ASSUMPTIONS that these applicants got in with lower average wGPA. But there is no statistics for that.

And what more, systemic racism is chronic and draining and stressful on individuals. Even if concession does IN FACT exist on wGPA, how is BSAP any different from allowing students to write an AEE to explain extenuating circumstances in their academic history? It's simply formalizing the explanation of marginalized background for these students. 

Lastly, the students coming into med school are NOT the same as the physicians coming out of it. If people can go into med schools with non-science backgrounds and no prerequisites and become fine doctors by the end of it, I don't see why a 0.1 difference in WGPA would affect the outcome anymore significantly. 

Unlike the offensive bias against black students and graduates spouted on here, there have been ACTUAL studies out there to show that having a holistic approach to admissions and increasing diversity does not compromise and can even improve success of graduates.

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54 minutes ago, DrOtter said:

All these posts speaking against BSAP and other forms of "affirmative action" and we have yet to see a single factual piece of statistics to prove that favoring black applicants or other applicants from marginalized backgrounds actually resulted in ANY lower outcome in licensing exams or healthcare outcome.

We have no actual knowledge into how applicants to BSAP are assessed aside from the fact that they will be paired with interviewers of their own race to prevent implicit bias. You're making ASSUMPTIONS that these applicants got in with lower average wGPA. But there is no statistics for that.

And what more, systemic racism is chronic and draining and stressful on individuals. Even if concession does IN FACT exist on wGPA, how is BSAP any different from allowing students to write an AEE to explain extenuating circumstances in their academic history? It's simply formalizing the explanation of marginalized background for these students. 

Lastly, the students coming into med school are NOT the same as the physicians coming out of it. If people can go into med schools with non-science backgrounds and no prerequisites and become fine doctors by the end of it, I don't see why a 0.1 difference in WGPA would affect the outcome anymore significantly. 

Unlike the offensive bias against black students and graduates spouted on here, there have been ACTUAL studies out there to show that having a holistic approach to admissions and increasing diversity does not compromise and can even improve success of graduates.

^very well said. I would also argue that the introduction of programs like BSAP or ISAP can serve as encouragement for these students to apply in the first place. They are more likely to have been told the same old detrimental narrative all their lives that they are "never good enough" or is "less capable", let alone being able to become a physician. If they grew up hearing all these things, they are much less likely to apply to medical schools at all, especially since the representation of themselves in these positions is almost non-existent/hard to come by. By having these sorts of application streams, the schools are literally reaching out to these students who just needed a bit more of a push because they may fear that they won't fit in to this profession. If you have more students from these groups applying, you're bound to find more qualified students for the incoming class just statistically speaking, thus increasing their representation anyways.

Instead of thinking about these programs as shortcuts for certain groups to get into medicine (which by itself also feeds to the narrative I mentioned and does nothing for yourself other than to put others down and denigrate their lived experiences and hard work), I think we need to see these programs as a way to increase the amount of applicants from these groups in the first place. Medical programs have to produce stellar students and future physicians. I don't see why they would let less than qualified individuals into a profession where peoples' lives and wellbeing are at stake. 

TLDR: We should focus on improving ourselves and celebrate diversity, not ruminate over suspicions about others' success. 

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8 hours ago, uwopremed said:

The admissions pools are different (as they are for aboriginal students - of which i have ancestry and relatives on one side of the family).  So yes, people admitted within separate groups got in on their own merit, but their self identification or proven identification with one group provided a massive boost.  Most BSAP admits, if they were Asian or East Indian, simply would not have had a file review. That's just reality.  Some people support such initiatives and think they are important for society, others don't think they address the root problems of bias in elementary school or even earlier - and just mask society's issues by providing some good public PR 'look we are doing something'.  They can also potentially increase stereotyping.  Malcolm Gladwell touched on some of these issues indirectly in David and Goliath.  Similar initiatives have not helped improve public health for ethnic minorities in the  USA - in fact, in some aspects, things have got quite worse.

Of note, I received a full warning for my posts above for not creating a safe space for people of colour.  While my posts are more centrist and even center right than left, and were critical of some aspects of BSAP, I do think warnings for slightly deviant political opinion on a premed forum is quite shocking.  I've privately helped countless students through PMs over the last 6 years of all backgrounds on this site.  I think bullying people to accept a single narrative on any issue (excluding outright bullying or racism of course) is shocking.  It helps drive moderates and dissenters underground, and to some degree even helps radicalize people.  

I promise you this is not an ill-intended or malicious attack on your post, but an analysis of your response through the eyes and experience of someone else. 

"So yes, people admitted within separate groups got in on their own merit, but their self identification or proven identification with one group provided a massive boost." = So yes people got in on their own merit but really not all. Again, you seem to point towards successes being tied directly to race and not merit.

"Most BSAP admits, if they were Asian or East Indian, simply would not have had a file review." --> 1. How on earth would you ever know if someone is Asian or East Indian solely based on their application (barring any dangerous presumptions based on name alone)? 2. Where on earth is the information that backs this claim coming from? Do you have some sort of secret stash of all of the credentials of every BSAP admit compared to every non-black applicant and admit? I truly do not understand how you, a doctor, can make these claims and synthesize this information with almost 0 stats to back it up. 

"and just mask society's issues by providing some good public PR 'look we are doing something'." --> If you think that BSAP or ISAP are publicity stunts I would hate to hear what you think about BLM protests and indigenous rights campaigns. These initiatives are changing the course of medicine, some people just cannot see that yet. 

"Of note, I received a full warning for my posts above for not creating a safe space for people of colour.  While my posts are more centrist and even center right than left, and were critical of some aspects of BSAP, I do think warnings for slightly deviant political opinion on a premed forum is quite shocking." --> Some of the statements you have made have run deeper than what you claim to be 'political' and run more along the lines of anti-diversity and unknowingly offensive and/or discriminatory. It is not the job of POC to point out to you when you say something 'political' versus abrasive. That is a skill POC are brought up with when navigating a system designed against them and unfortunately a skill that many non-POC need to work hard to learn, but it is worth it.

"I've privately helped countless students through PMs over the last 6 years of all backgrounds on this site. I think bullying people to accept a single narrative on any issue (excluding outright bullying or racism of course) is shocking. " --> In no way do I think you come across as someone who would reject help to anyone. I am sure you are a very helpful person. I am also truly sorry if you feel that you are being bullied as no one deserves to feel this way. One reason why I think many people are against your points is that there have been several BIPOC and allies in this thread explaining to you how what you have said is offensive, insensitive, and yes, not conducive to creating a safe space for POC, and it appears as though you have not exactly taken it to heart or attempted to hear and validate those experiences. Also as a side note to provide an example; this statement sounds very similar to the typical "I am not racist, I have black friends" comment that every black person has heard. 

 

 

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@DrOtter & @TheHappyMD & @FingersCrossedPls Your posts are giving me life right now. Thank you for speaking out.

A lot of people are quick to criticize measures that "facilitate" the advancement of minorities and people from low socio-economic backgrounds without realizing that the whole system in our society is set to benefit them in all aspects of life. To anyone who is against affirmative action, please take a moment and reflect on the many ways in which you may have benefited from direct/indirect advantages: Have you grown up in a household where education was an after-thought? Have you had to constantly worry about paying for tutors to increase your grades? Have you ever considered abandoning medicine because you're terrified by the idea of getting into extreme debt due to growing up in poverty? Have you had to learn every step of the admission process on your own because your immigrant family is completely unfamiliar with the process? Have you been told by your teachers, advisors, and peers that you should not follow your dream of becoming a doctor because its not for people like you (whatever this means..)?

In regards to medicine, simply take a look at this study on the demographics of Canadian medical students. It is clear that there is an over-representation of students from privileged backgrounds in medical school. Ask yourself why.

https://bmcmededuc.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12909-020-02056-x

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On 6/8/2020 at 3:10 AM, kiara said:

Given that Black Canadians have not really experienced systematic racism in Canada (to my knowledge), it doesn't make much sense to me why there should be equity programs for Black Canadians as well. Once again, I truly apologize if I sound uninformed on this matter; I am only commenting this because I would like to hear from others who may be more informed and to understand what perspectives I could be missing. 

hi, just to clarify, and somebody may have already replied to this comment (I’m making my way through this thread), but it is simply untrue that Black Canadians do not face systemic racism. I’d recommend you read “the skin we’re in” by Desmond Cole to learn more as a starting point.  It seems there’s a very present sense of complacency that follows many Canadians who like to point the finger at America but never take a sec to look at their own implicit biases and contributions to upholding the systems that hold back and judge marginalized groups daily (this forum is a prime example of that) 

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On 6/8/2020 at 1:12 PM, Neutral1234 said:

 

I also know someone who applied through BSAP and got into U of T med with a GPA of 3.6-3.7 this coming year. Very great guy and would make an excellent doctor. For me personally, I don't have anything against the BSAP.

However, I would think its not fair to the rest of the applicant to say that the GPA requirement is just as high as non-BSAP applicants. It's about honest and transparent and not about denial. I personally don't think there's much different in terms of intellect between an individual with 3.6, 3.7, 3.8,3.9+ GPA. Anyone with such high GPA would make an excellent doctor! There's a lot of factors that also matter like personality. I think these are a lot more important than GPA.

this user made their account 3 days ago and has made 0 other posts. it's almost certainly a troll. 

there is literally ZERO concrete evidence to suggest BSAP applicants have significantly lower standards for gpa or other academic metrics. its entirely assumed by the slightly higher rate of entry (and possibly peoples' general presumptions about black people and their GPAs?).

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Interesting discussion, I rarely post here anymore but I would like to give my two cents from my experience as someone who is still struggling to get in and also a minority. First, I want to say that I'm really happy to see more black students get in, it gives me hope as a first generation immigrant who moved to Canada after high school, and is still struggling to get in med school, which is my (and my family's) life-long dream.

I think my case is quite interesting because I am not black, but I am African (North African, from a country that is officially considered developing and of a lower economic status), and I'm very proud of my African heritage. I have experienced uncountable hardships and discrimination acts during my academic career and they definitely put me at a disadvantage compared to the average applicant (White or non-White), in fact being a first generation immigrant who did high school in another country is a huge struggle on its own. Yet, I cannot apply through BSAP, because I'm not black (Even though I'm African, but you can imagine how awkward, fake and imposer I would feel going to a BSAP interview day with a fair olive skin. I know U of T says you can still apply, but trust me it is super uncomforting and awkward). Therefore, I really wish such programs were more inclusive of underprivileged people. I really wish such programs were more focused on helping underprivileged applicants based on measures like socioeconomic status or family conditions etc rather than being restricted to skin color (and that's what many top universities in the US are shifting to). 

I know for a fact that black folks are definitely discriminated and underprivileged even in Canada, but I also personally know examples of people who took advantage of such programs solely because of their ethnicity, even though they had a very luxurious and top quality education and bringing up because they come from rich and powerful families (Yes rich black families do exist, same as poor white families). And that's the problem with such ethnicity based affirmative actions, that often times the individuals who benefit from such initiatives are not really the ones those programs were designed to help or support.

Lastly, I want to say that I definitely do not mean to undermine accepted black students who got through BSAP, I have no doubt that they will go on to be great doctors. But a common problem with affirmative actions is that they usually put so much focus on representation and ignore individual interest and fairness to applicants. It is not about whether BSAP students will be successful or not, I'm 100% sure they will be. It is more about the support and fairness underprivileged applicants need. Affirmative actions can be very useful if applied in an inclusive way and accompanied by other equally important measures, that's just my opinion at least.

Regardless, I would like to congratulate BSAP students who got in and wish best of luck for those who didn't make it this cycle.

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1 hour ago, jackthegreat said:

Sorry if this is kinda off topic (but related to the title lmao) but considering the change in the way wGPA is calculated with only 2.0 FCE's dropped, do you think more people with low 3.8's would get accepted cuz of maybe a lower average acceptance gpa?

I'm also curious to know what people think of this. To me it seems likely.

With regards to grad applicants, their website says "a minimum GPA of 3.7 is considered competitive for graduate applicants" as opposed to 3.8 which is listed for undergraduate applicants. Given that most people seem to agree (and confirmed by the stats posted by UofT) that 3.9+ is actually what might be considered competitive for undergraduates, I would suspect that 3.8 would be closer to what is actually competitive.

Source: https://applymd.utoronto.ca/academic-requirements

In the past I recall that the number listed for grad applicants used to be 3.5. The fact that it's 3.7 now I suspect is due to them dropping the requirement for grad applicants to demonstrate significant research output which they said could typically be shown by producing a first author publication.

I checked the website quite frequently last year and that number fluctuated from time to time. Maybe somebody has a way to check this but I recall it being listed later as 3.7, 3.6, and even reverting back to 3.5 at one point. Now its stayed at 3.7 for a while.

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1 hour ago, sowhat said:

Interesting discussion, I rarely post here anymore but I would like to give my two cents from my experience as someone who is still struggling to get in and also a minority. First, I want to say that I'm really happy to see more black students get in, it gives me hope as a first generation immigrant who moved to Canada after high school, and is still struggling to get in med school, which is my (and my family's) life-long dream.

I think my case is quite interesting because I am not black, but I am African (North African, from a country that is officially considered developing and of a lower economic status), and I'm very proud of my African heritage. I have experienced uncountable hardships and discrimination acts during my academic career and they definitely put me at a disadvantage compared to the average applicant (White or non-White), in fact being a first generation immigrant who did high school in another country is a huge struggle on its own. Yet, I cannot apply through BSAP, because I'm not black (Even though I'm African, but you can imagine how awkward, fake and imposer I would feel going to a BSAP interview day with a fair olive skin. I know U of T says you can still apply, but trust me it is super uncomforting and awkward). Therefore, I really wish such programs were more inclusive of underprivileged people. I really wish such programs were more focused on helping underprivileged applicants based on measures like socioeconomic status or family conditions etc rather than being restricted to skin color (and that's what many top universities in the US are shifting to). 

I know for a fact that black folks are definitely discriminated and underprivileged even in Canada, but I also personally know examples of people who took advantage of such programs solely because of their ethnicity, even though they had a very luxurious and top quality education and bringing up because they come from rich and powerful families (Yes rich black families do exist, same as poor white families). And that's the problem with such ethnicity based affirmative actions, that often times the individuals who benefit from such initiatives are not really the ones those programs were designed to help or support.

Lastly, I want to say that I definitely do not mean to undermine accepted black students who got through BSAP, I have no doubt that they will go on to be great doctors. But a common problem with affirmative actions is that they usually put so much focus on representation and ignore individual interest and fairness to applicants. It is not about whether BSAP students will be successful or not, I'm 100% sure they will be. It is more about the support and fairness underprivileged applicants need. Affirmative actions can be very useful if applied in an inclusive way and accompanied by other equally important measures, that's just my opinion at least.

Regardless, I would like to congratulate BSAP students who got in and wish best of luck for those who didn't make it this cycle.

I agree with you as well. Although I am a second-generation immigrant, I have also encountered various struggles because of this. Compared to some of my relatives who were first generation immigrants, I have had an easier path which enabled me to be put in a position where I could actually apply to med school. I think there are issues with the system of applying and that BSAP is definitely a step in the right direction for providing equitable opportunities to those who may have been discouraged or have been racially profiled against through their journey. Reading some studies, the issue with reaching low SES students is definitely a recognized problem, but like any of these problems, there is not a clear cut solution that will solve it. If we look at the application process right now, a lot of the success can be related to a student's SES. A student of low SES may not be able to afford the same resources, whether that is tutoring services, access to newer textbooks, or whatnot, the low SES would not be able to afford these because of that. In terms of equity, the student with low SES is placed at a disadvantaged situation to begin with and less likely to succeed compared to someone with high SES. A higher GPA would be harder to obtain because they may have to work in their spare time, affecting their studies. They may not be able to reach all the same extracurricular activities because of this. MCAT score could be lower because they were not able to access certain resources, let alone the cost of the exam itself. The entire system seems tilted toward those of higher SES. Again, this is a complicated situation with no clear cut solution. A lot of different factors. It's an evolving system and hopefully we can continue to see initiatives like BSAP for those of low SES and everyone who is placed into a disadvantaged situation.

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On 6/10/2020 at 7:02 PM, DrOtter said:

All these posts speaking against BSAP and other forms of "affirmative action" and we have yet to see a single factual piece of statistics to prove that favoring black applicants or other applicants from marginalized backgrounds actually resulted in ANY lower outcome in licensing exams or healthcare outcome.

We have no actual knowledge into how applicants to BSAP are assessed aside from the fact that they will be paired with interviewers of their own race to prevent implicit bias. You're making ASSUMPTIONS that these applicants got in with lower average wGPA. But there is no statistics for that.

And what more, systemic racism is chronic and draining and stressful on individuals. Even if concession does IN FACT exist on wGPA, how is BSAP any different from allowing students to write an AEE to explain extenuating circumstances in their academic history? It's simply formalizing the explanation of marginalized background for these students. 

Lastly, the students coming into med school are NOT the same as the physicians coming out of it. If people can go into med schools with non-science backgrounds and no prerequisites and become fine doctors by the end of it, I don't see why a 0.1 difference in WGPA would affect the outcome anymore significantly. 

Unlike the offensive bias against black students and graduates spouted on here, there have been ACTUAL studies out there to show that having a holistic approach to admissions and increasing diversity does not compromise and can even improve success of graduates.

There is a need to get more black, hispanic and aboriginal doctors.  We all agree on that.  I believe we need to improve outcomes at the HS and undergraduate level to do so organically - including special classes and programs for talented minority students.  I feel that AA is a lazy solution, and may cause more harm and worsen stereotypes.

The factual evidence is very profound about potential harm - though i won't change your mind with any facts.  But because you asked, USLME pass rates by ethnicity are inversely correlated with how much affirmative action help is required.  The same is true with board certifications.  I have no desire to post some of the more damning research as some people may be upset - so i'll post some data looking at average usmle scores for you to peruse.  The differences are profound. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/hsr2.161

The biggest issue is with malpractice.  In locales where affirmative action is more aggressive, the cases of malpractice are sadly very common.  One of the biggest cases in regards to affirmative actions was by a Mr Bakke in 1978, a well qualified white student who did not get into UC Davis while a new AA program admitted students with lower credentials - it went to the supreme court.  One of the affirmative action admits was a Patrick Chavis - he used to be roundly hailed as a reason why affirmative action should exist by the left for his presumed successful career.  Sadly his career took a bad turn.  His obituary from the NYTimes is a valuable read. https://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/15/us/patrick-chavis-50-affirmative-action-figure.html . https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB872642722185174000

Michael Jackson's "Cardiologist" never passed his board exams for cardiology.  He didn't even pass his internal medicine exam.  His incompetence caused Michael Jackson's death.  He went to a medical school that had very low MCAT and GPA standards for admission for URM (it still does).  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/michael-jackson-how-not-t_b_221994?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAJHl0n9wJfMw8IELCww61KE_zFqWRDNUo7JQRBG-b8pEko-CGAJx9O-QQJCMFQXqmuP5W_yzkyMsw16WSnFvYbZhJCtJN9SpgS-vsgmqrhUZU8AHU3R4DxCx_rCrDhmssVQ9uCFLhAms-xXf_Wqo1dKtIkN1PKzxVQPPEuDxd9Qs

Kanye's West's mother died at the hands of Dr. Jan Adams.  She got a liposuction and another minor procedure.  He was sort of a celebrity plastic surgeon promoted by Oprah at the time - the media basically promoted him as this gifted surgeon.  He never passed his plastics board exams though, and actually was involved in several very severe malpractice cases.    He graduated from a Ohio medical school that had a very strong AA program.  Kanye West was outraged about him advertising himself as a plastic surgeon and to this day still remains angry. https://edition.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/11/22/ep.cosmetic.surgery/

There are many great black physicians out there.  But AA programs in the US have become so extreme, that they have graduated some MDs that should never have been MDs.  And they hurt people in their community.  Because of AA, a high percentage find it hard to pass their licensing exams, so they work as board eligible as opposed to board certified.  And this can hurt their patients a-lot.  Even prominent people in their own community.  I don't have evidence that UofT has gone the extreme that the US has of course.  Being a resident at UofT, I do know as a fact that it is a much easier stream, knowing lots of people involved in admissions (which should be obvious of course- the classes of 2019/2020 had a combined single black person, while the class of 2024 has 25).    

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