US medical schools grew more diverse in 2022, AAMC data show

The nation's medical schools are reporting that more Black and Hispanic students, and women, are attending medical school than ever before.

The number of Black, Hispanic, and women applicants and enrollees continued to increase at U.S. medical schools in the 2022-23 academic year, according to data released today by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The number of Black or African American matriculants grew by 9% for this academic year. That brought overall enrollment of Black or African American students to a record 9,630, AAMC reported.

Black or African American students made up 10% of matriculants in 2022-23, up from 9.5% in 2020-21. First-year Black or African American men increased by 5%.

Medical school matriculants who are Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish origin grew by 4%. Individuals from this group made up 12% of total matriculants. 

Overall enrollment of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish-origin students now stands at a record 11,631.

Applicants identify as Asian increased by 13.3% and matriculants increased by 17.7% to reach 6,525.

White applicants increased by 2.1% and matriculants declined by 0.62% to now stand at 11,800.

Women continued to make gains, now making up 57% of applicants, 56% of matriculants and 54% of total enrollment. This is the fourth year in a row that women made up the majority of these three groups, AAMC reported.

Women continue applying to medical school far more than men do, according to the organization.

The 2022-23 academic year marked the first time in seven years that the number of men matriculants did not decline.

“The increases in first-year enrollees from historically underrepresented groups reflect the efforts of the nation’s medical schools to increase diversity and further address the nation’s public health needs,” said Geoffrey Young, Ph.D., AAMC senior director for transforming the healthcare workforce, in a statement. “The AAMC is focused on diversifying the physician workforce, including American Indian and Alaska Native students, to ensure the next generation of physicians reflects the communities they serve.”

The number of American Indian or Alaska Native matriculants, however, declined by 9%, comprising 1% of matriculants.

After a record-setting 17.8% increase in medical school applicants early in the COVID-19 pandemic, applicants and first-year enrollees for the 2022-23 school year generally reverted to levels seen before the pandemic, with slight increases in several areas.

Applicants to medical school in 2022-23 numbered 55,188—11.6% fewer than in 2021-22 but 4.1% more than in 2020-21.

Due to this unprecedented increase during the onset of the public health crisis, the AAMC compared data from the 2022-23 academic year with the 2020-21 academic year for this annual data release. Using this comparison, total medical school enrollment grew by 3%. The number of first-year enrollees was up 2% from 2020-21.

“The AAMC has seen a steady increase in applications and enrollments over the last several years as students considering a career in medicine continue to answer the call to service,” said David J. Skorton, MD, AAMC president and CEO, in a statement.

Additional facts about the 2022-23 entering class: 

  • As in previous years, medical school matriculants in 2022-23 had strong academic credentials, with a median undergraduate GPA of 3.82, even higher than previous years.
  • Matriculants ranged in age from 17 to 53 years old, including 677 people over age 30.
  • 154 matriculants were military veterans, a decline from 168 veterans in 2020-21.
  • The entering class cumulatively performed over 15 million community service hours, an average of nearly 675 hours per student.

AAMC data also shows increased diversity in the socioeconomic status of matriculants, applicants, and acceptees. Matriculants with a parent whose highest level of education was less than a bachelor’s degree or any degree with an occupation categorized as “service, clerical, skilled, and unskilled” increased from 21% in 2020-21 to 22% in 2022-23.

The nonprofit association says it's actively involved in advancing efforts to address the shortage of Native American healthcare professionals and the educational barriers that Indigenous students face entering medicine, including serving as a co-host for the American Indian and Alaska Native Healthcare Workforce Development Summit earlier this year.

“We know that more diversity in the physician workforce builds trust and enhances the physician-patient relationship, translating into better health outcomes,” said Skorton. “The AAMC and our member medical schools are committed to increasing the number of both applicants and matriculants from historically underrepresented groups.”