Diversity in the Health Professions

Medical schools and other health professions training programs are interested in cultivating a diverse student body and faculty. They are concerned to increase the participation of individuals underrepresented in health care and in the biomedical sciences as a way to meet society's needs for culturally competent care to improve health and to promote health equity. This diversity can take many shapes. There are a number of racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in the health professions relative to their numbers in the general population. Increasingly, health professions programs are expanding their understanding of diversity to include first-generation college students or those who grew up in challenging financial or social situations, and individuals with disabilities of various kinds.

Students from groups that are underrepresented in medicine should be aware that there are opportunities available, including:

  • Summer academic programs
  • Summer research programs
  • Postbaccalaureate programs designed to prepare students for the MCAT and to provide opportunities to demonstrate ability in the sciences


Students interested in any health professions might find inspiration in reading the narratives of individuals from a variety of backgrounds who have made the journey to medicine. Readers can filter these to find models of students who have broken through barriers, or overcome illness, or faced other challenges on their path to medicine. 

Summer Health Professions Education Program

Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) is a free, six-week summer enrichment program that offers eligible students intensive exposure to resources to explore and to prepare for health professions schools. Eligible students include, but are not limited to, individuals who identify as African American/Black, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino, or who are from communities of socioeconomic or educational disadvantage.

Diversity in Dentistry

According to information from the American Dental Association (ADA), there is critical need to increase the representation of minority dentists. "There is a critical need in many underserved communities where minority and disadvantaged people are not getting the care they need. Only 12 percent of students entering dental school are minorities, while minorities make up 25 percent of the general population. Recent data shows that minority dentists treat a very high number of minority patients." (Source: "Be a Dentist," ADA)

Diversity in the Veterinary Field

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges’ DiVersity Matters initiative describes the AAVMC's programs to foster diversity within the veterinary profession. 

Schedule an appointment with Dean Glicksman to discuss these opportunities: gglicksman@brynmawr.edu

Contact Us

Health Professions Advising Office

Canwyll House East
Open year-round, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.