Attrition Rates for M.D.-Ph.D. Programs Vary by Race, Ethnicity

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

Black M.D.-Ph.D. matriculants had higher odds of graduating with M.D. only and dropping out of medical school

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 1, 2023 (HealthDay News) — There are significant racial and ethnic disparities in rates of attrition from M.D.-Ph.D. training programs, according to a research letter published online July 31 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Mytien Nguyen, from the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues examined how attrition rates among M.D.-Ph.D. matriculants differ by race and ethnicity. The analysis included Association of American Medical data on 4,702 M.D.-Ph.D. matriculants (2004 to 2012).

The researchers found that 83.6 percent of matriculants completed M.D.-Ph.D. training, 12.3 percent graduated with their M.D. only, and 4.1 percent left medical school. Compared with other M.D.-Ph.D. matriculants of other race/ethnicity groups, graduating with an M.D. only was more common for Black students (20.0 percent) compared with White (12.4 percent), Asian (11.4 percent), Hispanic (13.2 percent), and multiracial (9.8 percent) matriculants. Additionally, more Black M.D.-Ph.D. matriculants left medical school (8.4 percent) than White matriculants (4.3 percent). The odds of graduating with only an M.D. and leaving medical school were higher for Black than for White students (adjusted odds ratios, 1.50 and 1.83, respectively), after adjusting for Medical College Admission Test quartile.

“The disparity in attrition for Black M.D.-Ph.D. students could have implications for the racial diversity of the biomedical workforce,” the authors write.

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