UCSF Ranks No. 1 in Medical Education Diversity by Hispanic Business Magazine

Sam Hawgood

The UCSF School of Medicine ranks No. 1 among US medical schools in attracting Hispanic students, according to HispanicBusiness magazine.

With a total graduate enrollment of 631 students, including 102 Hispanic graduate students, UCSF’s medical school finished in first place with 16 percent Hispanic graduate enrollment, according to the September 2010 issue.

UCSF bested the medical schools at University of Miami, Baylor College of Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern, and University of Texas at Houston. Each of these schools has higher enrollment of students at their medical schools, but a smaller percentage of Hispanic medical students.

“As America begins to shrug off the deepest economic recession since the Great Depression, an educated, diverse workforce is seen as a key ingredient to global competitiveness,” the magazine’s staff writer Gary D. Fackler reported.

UCSF School of Medicine

  • Total graduate enrollment: 631
  • Hispanic graduate enrollment: 102
  • Percent Hispanic graduate enrollment: 16%
  • Total MD degrees earned: 144
  • MD degrees earned by Hispanics: 17
  • Percent of MD degrees earned by Hispanics: 12%
  • Full-time medical school faculty: 1,930
  • Full-time Hispanic faculty: 56
  • Percent Hispanic faculty: 3%

Each year, HispanicBusiness measures and ranks the effectiveness of the nation’s universities in attracting Hispanic students, and in providing them with the academic support they need to ensure they make the grade then make a difference,” Fackler wrote.

All universities in academic areas of business, engineering, law and medicine, were ranked in terms of Hispanic diversity using the criteria of percent of Hispanic student enrollment, percent of Hispanic faculty and progressive programs aimed at increasing enrollment of Hispanic students.

Both the UCSF School of Medicine and the University at large, has made advancing diversity of faculty, staff, students and trainees a top priority. The UCSF Strategic Plan, released in 2007, named nurturing diversity as one of seven strategic directions for UCSF over the next decade.

Since becoming chancellor in August 2009, Chancellor Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, has wholeheartedly expressed her commitment to diversity.

“I have been impressed with the passion and commitment demonstrated in this area by many of our faculty, staff and students,” she said. “Creating a diverse and inclusive environment in which everyone has the opportunity to excel is critical to achieving our mission. The breadth of diversity initiatives here on campus is a testament to the importance that the UCSF community places on creating such an environment.”

For her part, Desmond-Hellmann is looking to appoint UCSF’s first-ever vice chancellor of diversity and outreach, a high-profile post that will serve on the Chancellor’s Executive Cabinet reporting directly to her. Desmond-Hellmann also chairs the new Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion launched in July with a team of 30 campus leaders committed to ensuring that UCSF becomes a better place to work, study and teach.

Championing Diversity

UCSF is considered a leader in diversity, publishing a landmark report based on research conducted at the medical school and Stanford that identifies the elements critical to increasing racial and ethnic diversity in medical schools and ultimately, the physician workforce. 

“Diversity of the physician workforce bears directly on people’s access to care, and the quality and outcomes of care, in addition to impacting future benefits of research to the health of diverse populations,” said report co-author Philip R. Lee, MD, UCSF chancellor emeritus and professor of social medicine emeritus, UCSF School of Medicine.

The report, which is posted in its entirely online, serves as a roadmap for continued increases in the diversity of medical school populations – especially those who are traditionally underrepresented.

“Hispanics have been an integral part of California’s history and will soon be the majority population,” said Sam Hawgood, MBBS, dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and vice chancellor for medial affairs. “As a state institution, our mission is to train world-class physicians who mirror the diversity of the people of California and are dedicated to improve health care for all.”

Joseph Castro, PhD, vice provost of Student Academic Affairs and special assistant to the chancellor, has worked to support students of all backgrounds, including those who represent the first generation of their families to attend graduate school.

“UCSF is educating the next generation of leaders in health care from all communities,” Castro said. “We are honored by HispanicBusiness magazine’s acknowledgement of our efforts to increase the diversity of our student body, yet we know that much work remains to be done in this area.”

To be sure, UCSF’s medical school, like the other three professional schools in dentistry, nursing and pharmacy, and the Graduate Division, continue to try to recruit underrepresented faculty to their ranks. Hispanic Business magazine reports that the medical school 1,930 full-time faculty members only 56 or 3 percent are Hispanic.

Among those working campuswide to improve academic diversity among faculty, students and trainees is Renee Navarro, MD, PharmD, director of academic diversity. Even before taking on that role, Navarro worked with colleagues within the School of Medicine to ensure curricula addresses health disparities and serving the underserved.

“We are pleased to receive this honor in recognition of our sustained commitment to a diverse medical school class and a curriculum that appreciates the social determinants of health and engagement with the community,” Navarro said. “We have a long history of nurturing diversity because it is an essential component of excellence.”

Photo by Susan Merrell

Related Links:


Nurturing Diversity website

UCSF Seeks New Vice Chancellor of Diversity, Outreach
UCSF Today, April 19, 2010

UCSF Advances Focus on Diversity, Inclusion
UCSF Today, July 27, 2010