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The Many Missions of Medical Schools

Lawrence G. Smith, MD; and Veronica M. Catanese, MD, MBA
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From Hofstra University School of Medicine, in partnership with North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Hempstead, NY 11549.

Potential Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed. Forms can be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=M10-0919.

Requests for Single Reprints: Lawrence G. Smith, MD, Hofstra University School of Medicine in partnership with North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, 145 Hofstra University, East Library Wing, Hempstead, NY 11549; e-mail, lawrence.smith@hofstra.edu.

Current Author Addresses: Drs. Smith and Catanese: Hofstra University School of Medicine in partnership with North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, 145 Hofstra University, East Library Wing, Hempstead, NY 11549.

Ann Intern Med. 2010;152(12):818-819. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-152-12-201006150-00012
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In this issue, Mullan and colleagues (1) propose a new “social mission” metric by which to assess and rank medical schools. In their rationale for proposing such a metric, they call attention to 2 gaps: one between the supply of and the demand for physicians providing primary health care to underserved populations, and the other between the percentage of the workforce comprising physicians from racial and ethnic minority groups that are underrepresented in medicine and the percentage of the population comprising these same minority groups. Because data (23) suggest that underrepresented minority physicians provide more care to underrepresented minority populations, Mullan and colleagues factor 3 variables—the percentages of 1999 to 2001 medical school graduates who practice primary care, work in health professional shortage areas, and are of races or ethnicities that are underrepresented in medicine—into the calculation of a social mission score by which they rank 141 U.S. medical schools.

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