Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

High debt load anticipated by medical students; African-Americans most affected

Date:
September 16, 2013
Source:
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Summary:
The cost of a medical school education continues to rise. However, increases in the student debt burden may not be assumed equally. Researchers analyzed data from a sample of US medical students and found that 77.3 percent of black students anticipated owing more than $150,000 and 57.2 percent of Hispanics/Latinos predicted having debt in excess of $150,000. Asian students, at 50.2 percent, expected the lowest levels of debt.

The cost of a medical school education in the United States has been on the rise over the past 10 years. However, given racial and ethnic inequalities in access to financial resources, increases in the student debt burden may not be assumed equally. To evaluate the issue, researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health analyzed data from a sample of over 2% of the U.S. medical students enrolled at 111 accredited American medical schools.

In the sample of 2,355 medical students in 2010-2011, 62.1% of the medical students overall and 65% of White students anticipated debt above the $150,000 threshold. A greater portion of Black students -- 77.3% -- anticipated owing more than $150,000. Asian students, at 50.2%, expected the lowest levels of debt, and a slightly higher rate of Hispanics/Latinos -- 57.2% -- predicted having debt in excess of $150,000. Results were weighted by race and class year.

The study is published online in the journal PLOS One.

"The finding that Black medical students had significantly higher anticipated debt than Asian students has implications for understanding differential enrollment among minority groups in U.S. medical schools," according to senior author Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH, Gelman Professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health.

Since 2004, the percentage of Black enrollment in medical schools has fallen, particularly in osteopathic schools. Meanwhile, enrollment of Hispanic and Asian students continues to rise. For 2010-2011, 60% of medical school students were White compared with 21% Asian, 7% Hispanic/Latin, and 6% Black. Compared to the overall U.S. population, Asian students are overrepresented in the medical student population by over 75%, while Black students are underrepresented by over 100%.

Unique to this analysis, the researchers included data from both allopathic -- or mainstream medical practice -- and osteopathic institutions. "This is uncommon in studies about medical student debt but better reflects the total population of students entering the physician workforce," according to Robert A. Dugger, MD, MPH, study author and a former research associate at the Mailman School of Public Health who is currently a psychiatry resident at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Hospital. "As concern over the physician supply grows, more investigation into the influence of medical education cost on the physician supply is needed," noted Dr. Dugger.

Less Debt Anticipated By Hispanic and Asian Students

Disparities in medical student debt burden generally correlated with racial and ethnic disparities in income, although there was a significant exception. Hispanic medical students experienced comparatively low anticipated educational debt yet they have among the lowest median incomes in the U.S. Asian medical students, like their Hispanic counterparts, also had low anticipated educational debt, yet both groups of students are likely to come from immigrant households.

"It is plausible that immigrant families may be less comfortable with the American norm of educational loan utilization than nonimmigrant families," said co-author Dr. Abdulrahman El-Sayed, a fellow in the Mailman School Department of Epidemiology and medical student at Columbia's College Physicians and Surgeons. "At the same time, they may be more willing to offset the costs of their children's graduate education."

The paper underscores that experts have been tracking the high cost of medical education for some time and, in particular, its effect on qualified Black and Hispanic applicants. The higher anticipated debt among Black compared to Hispanic students that this research revealed may explain, in part, why matriculation among Blacks is decreasing in the setting of increasing matriculation among Hispanics.

High medical student debt is known to frustrate efforts to create a diverse and representative physician workforce. "Our work suggests that the burden of medical student debt is substantial, and that the distribution of debt across race and ethnicity is disproportionate. With Black students reporting higher debt burdens than their counterparts from other racial and ethnic backgrounds, it is plausible that this disproportionate debt burden may play a role in the relative decline in medical school attendance among Black students," noted Dr. Galea.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Robert A. Dugger, Abdulrahman M. El-Sayed, Anjali Dogra, Catherine Messina, Richard Bronson, Sandro Galea. The Color of Debt: Racial Disparities in Anticipated Medical Student Debt in the United States. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (9): e74693 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0074693

Cite This Page:

Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "High debt load anticipated by medical students; African-Americans most affected." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130916122135.htm>.
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. (2013, September 16). High debt load anticipated by medical students; African-Americans most affected. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130916122135.htm
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "High debt load anticipated by medical students; African-Americans most affected." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130916122135.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) — A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — A 111-year-old Japanese was certified as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records on Wednesday. Sakari Momoi, a native of Fukushima in northern Japan, was given a certificate at a hospital in Tokyo. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins