Perspectives from the historic African American medical institutions

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10 Scopus citations


The historically African American medical schools have been at the center of medical education for African American physicians in the United States since the Howard University College of Medicine opened in 1868. Although there were more than a dozen African American medical schools established during the next few decades, as propriety or church affiliated schools, only two survived the Flexner Report in 1910. Howard University (1868) and Meharry (1876) survived and trained generations of African Americans. These two schools educated approximately 85% of all African American physicians whereas the majority medical schools educated 15% for more than half of the twentieth century. As the result of a series of lawsuits filed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, civil rights legislation and affirmative action programs, the numbers of the schools that now admitted African Americans increased and the total numbers of African American medical students increased when discrimination was prohibited in 1966. The percentage of African American medical students attending predominantly white institutions increased by 25% in 1948, by 47% in 1968, by 61% in 1983 and to 84% in 1990. Two additional predominantly African American medical schools were established: the Charles R. Drew Medical School, Los Angeles (affiliated with the University of California, Los Angeles) in 1966, and Morehouse Medical School, Atlanta, which admitted its first class in 1978. Recent court decisions prohibiting schools from considering race as factor in admission and the end of affirmative action programs have resulted in a drop in total minority enrollment. The historically African American medical schools, that admitted approximately 15% of the African American medical students during the era of affirmative action programs, will see this percentage decrease as the majority institutions admit fewer African American medical students and minority students. In the United States this trend already has been observed in admission data and graduation data for 1996 and 1997.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-101
Number of pages7
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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