[email protected]: The Challenges of Being Black in Med School

As Tino Delamerced ’18 MD’22 and Stephen Bozier ’17 MD’23 chatted over coffee in the summer of 2019, they realized that of the six Black men in their class, only three were moving on to the second year. Two of the others had to repeat their second semester, and one was asked not to return.

Delamerced and Bozier say this statistic demonstrated a larger trend across US medical schools. “It was clear after just a few conversations that the burden of remediation [repeating coursework]was falling disproportionately on students of color, particularly students underrepresented in medicine and BIPOC students,” Bozier says.

They wanted to go beyond the numbers for an episode of Firsts, Delamerced’s podcast about students’ first-time medical experiences, “to contextualize those statistics,” says Bozier, the president of Brown’s Student National Medical Association chapter. “We needed to offer a duality of data and narratives, since the two together are that much more powerful.”

They interviewed four Black classmates about the specific challenges that disproportionately affect students underrepresented in medicine (UriM), such as financial constraints, family-related stress, and the intersection of perceived professionalism and race.

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