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White Coats for Black Lives Group Gives Harvard Medical School C+ for Diversity and Inclusion

HMS Gordon Hall
The main quad at Harvard Medical School.

Harvard Medical School received a “C+” on a report issued Monday by advocacy group White Coats for Black Lives evaluating diversity, inclusion, and integration of minorities at 17 medical institutions across the country.

The group’s Racial Justice Report Card evaluated schools including Yale University of Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania, and Johns Hopkins. The report evaluates schools on metrics such as minority student and faculty representation, patient access, campus policing, and staff benefits. Last year, Harvard received a B- from the organization.

“The Racial Justice Report Card (RJRC) serves not only as an organizing tool for justice-oriented medical students, but also as a set of standards for medical schools aspiring towards transparency and progress in cultivating an anti-racist environment,” according to the report.

While the school earned a C+ overall, evaluators awarded the Medical School a C for some criteria assessed in the report, including student and faculty racial representation, recognition, grade disparities, campus policing, anti-racist training and curriculum, marginalized patient protection, equal access for all patients, and staff compensation and insurance.

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The “C” grade was designated for areas where the Medical School did not meet the standards or there was no publicly available data, according to the report. The Medical School did not receive any “A” grades.

White Coats for Black Lives Report Card

The Medical School’s student body comprises 7.1 percent black students, 0.1 percent Native American students, 9.5 percent Latinx students, and 2.9 percent multiracial students. The report card’s criteria for sufficient underrepresented minority enrollment was at least 13 percent black students, 1 percent Native American students, and 17 percent Latinx student, which are the proportions of these racial categories in the United States population.

Medical School spokesperson Gina Vild wrote in an emailed statement that the school is working to improve its diversity.

“We welcome the ongoing discussion with White Coats for Black Lives and take seriously our responsibility to champion social progress that will benefit our students, and through them, the people for whom they will ultimately care,” she wrote. “In recent years, HMS has made significant advances in this area. We acknowledge that there is more work to be done, and we will be unwavering in our commitment to continuing the progress.”

Since last year’s report card release, the Medical School has held dialogues on diversity to address the issues of diversity and inclusion brought to light with the Racial Justice Report Card.

White Coats for Black Lives reiterated in an emailed statement that the group’s members hope the report card will advance efforts for better racial representation at medical institutions.

“White Coats for Black Lives hopes that the Racial Justice Report Card will highlight best practices and encourage academic medical centers to direct their considerable power and resources towards addressing the needs of students, patients and healthcare workers of color,” White Coats for Black Lives wrote in an email.

—Staff writer Alexis K. Bolner can be reached at alexis.bolner@thecrimson.com

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