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Early Figures Indicate Drop in Black Applicants To Med School This Year

By Timothy R. Noah

Medical School officials yesterday reported an apparent drop in the number of black applicants to the school this year.

Tentative observations of Med School admissions figures indicate "there's been a big drop in applications from blacks," Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint, associate dean of student affairs and minority recruitment officer at the Med School, said yesterday.

Dr. Oglesby Paul '38, director of admissions at the Med School, said yesterday that final admissions figures for this year are not yet available. He added, however, that he expects the percentage of black applicants will show a decline this year.

Although the percentage of black first-year students at the school exceeds the national average, Paul said recruitment is a difficult problem.

"The bottlenecking is before the college level," he said.

Recruitment and training "back to the high school level" are essential if the school is to meet its affirmative action goals, Paul added.

An article in the most recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine linked the nation-wide low percentage of black first-year medical students to a low percentage of blacks applying. Both statistics have declined over the last four years, the article said.

Affirmative Action

"If black under-representation in medical school is to be corrected, affirmative action programs should be developed at the pre-college level," Boyd C. Sleeth, and Dr. Robert I. Mishell wrote in the November 24 issue of the journal.

The Harvard Medical School did not suffer a decrease in its pool of black applicants during 1968-76, the years studied in the article.

Extension

Though last year 85 fewer black students had applied to the school than the previous year when the official deadline expired, a two-week extension of the deadline--coupled with an extensive recruitment drive--ultimately produced a 15 percent increase in black applicants.

The percentage of blacks accepted last spring more than doubled the national average.

In 1970 the Association of American Medical Colleges began an affirmative action drive recommending that blacks should comprise 12 per cent of all first-year medical school classes by 1975-76, to compare to the percentage of blacks in the national population. However, that year only 6.8 per cent of first year medical students were black, a decline from the previous year's figure of 7.5 per cent

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