Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences


Public Health


What is Diversity? Retention? Often, these terms are used interchangeably without true understanding of their individual meanings. Diversity is offering a variety or having multiple ethnicities amongst a cohort in proportions seen within society. However, retention refers to the continuous possession or maintenance of the variation seen in said cohort. With regards to medical institutions, it seems that there is no separation. Many medical institutions seek to be diverse and create a picture of multiethnic cohorts but regrettably, effective retention techniques aren’t always adopted to make these visions a reality. The damage caused by the lack of adequate retention techniques has manifested in the inconsistency in the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine.

In attempts to bridge the diversity gap in medicine, pipeline programs were created to foster interest in the sciences amongst middle school and high school age students in the underrepresented minority population (Smedley, 1970). The focus on pipeline programs significantly increased juxtaposed to an initiative created by the AAMC called “3000 by 2000”. Project 3000 by 2000 was initiated in 1970 to increase the URM student enrollment/matriculation into medical schools to 12% by the year 2000 (Nickens, 1994).

The quantity of underrepresented minorities has increased over time, but it still has not reached parity, yet the quantity of non-Hispanic whites has steadily increased across time (Petersdorf et al., 1990; Penn Medicine News, 2019). Trends such as these magnify the discrepancies seen in the diversification of medicine. This analysis highlights institutions that have taken strides to improve retention and inherently diversity amongst URM medical students after matriculation and explores potential avenues for future retention programming.

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