Author Interviews, Education, JAMA / 20.07.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Arman Shahriar Medical Student University of Minnesota Medical School Research Consultant HealthPartners Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? & What should readers take away from your report? Response: Financing medical school is an opaque and important topic because the cost of attendance of medical school has risen much faster than inflation for decades. Over the same time period, the racial wealth gap has widened. We found significant differences in how students of different socioeconomic and racial/ethnic backgrounds are planning to pay for medical school at the time of matriculation. Family or personal financing is far more common for high-income students. Among Black students, family or personal financing was markedly lower than other racial/ethnic groups, which could be a reflection of the wealth gap - which is rooted in structural racism. This may create educational disparities as the field becomes increasingly racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse; there are many costs outside of tuition and living that may be considered "variable" or "non-essential" but necessary for high-quality education, including expensive board prep materials and transportation during clinical rotations. Furthermore, the stark deficit in family financing may be one reason why Black students currently report the highest debt burden of all racial/ethnic groups. (more…)