The USF College of Medicine accepted its largest incoming medical student class along with an increase in minority enrollment this year.
The college welcomed 115 students, 16 who are minorities. This year the number of medical students admitted increased from 100 to 115 since the past two years.
The increase occurred after a study conducted by the Institute of Medicine showed certain minorities were under represented in the number of physicians and population growth, said Steven Specter, associate dean of admissions in the College of Medicine.
Specter said Florida was one of the areas where it was determined that during the next couple of decades, the state was going to need a significant increase in the number of physicians.
“The national average for the proportion of incoming medical students who are under represented minorities is around 12 to 13 percent. We are slightly above the national average with 14 percent,” Specter said. “Our goal is to try to maintain a relatively high level of minority students. We would like to be at this level for next year or maybe somewhat higher.”
Three years ago, dean Robert Daugherty and his wife made a $1 million donation to establish a minority scholarship to help fund the minorities in the College of Medicine, Specter said. They also contributed an additional $300,000 to develop programming that encouraged minority students to enroll in the College of Medicine at USF.
Specter added that the increase would not only benefit our society but USF as well.
“We would like to achieve cultural diversity in the College of Medicine,” he said. “The way that this will benefit USF is that it will better represent the population that lives in the community, we will have physicians that understand the culture of individuals in the community and will be able to better serve them.”
Specter said the increase in minorities allows medical students to learn more about cultures and be able to better serve patients.
“We have a goal to achieve cultural competence for our students. If you look at the individuals in the class, we have terrific diversity and it will allow us to achieve this natural balance and that is what we want,” he said.