Can Students Bribe Their Way Into Medical School?

April 17, 2019

Recently, the FBI released an indictment charging dozens of people for college admissions bribery. Operation Varsity Blues involved rich parents, including some high-profile actors and corporate executives, who manipulated the system in shocking ways to get their kids into the best schools. Among the defendants are Homayoun Zadeh, a professor at USC's dentistry school, and Gregory Colburn, a radiation oncologist, who is now being investigated by the Medical Board of California.

There is no evidence that just because a couple of physicians were involved in cheating the undergrad system, the same sort of dishonesty takes place at the medical school level. That said, there are some data to suggest that medical school admissions favor wealthy applicants.

A recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine noted that medical education is losing ground on diversity, with less diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic representation than ever before. More than half of people in medical school today are in the upper quintile of income, Mark Henderson, MD, one of the report's coauthors and the associate dean of admissions and outreach at UC Davis, noted to Medscape Medical News.


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