Can we expand the definition of diversity to include academic diversity?

Valerie Montgomery Rice, M.D., dean & executive vice president, Morehouse School of Medicine, believes that a diverse education can provide greater care to people in the long run.


Most people tend to think about diversity limiting it to race and ethnicity. So at Morehouse School of Medicine we intentionally recruit what we describe as academically diverse students. That means students who don't have the highest GPA or the highest MCAT. We know that if we can get those students who have had different life experiences, and if we can get them to perform just as well as students who have MCAT scores of 31 when they come in, we know that we are now creating a platform for greater success for those students, and for the patients they're going to be caring for.

This is something that I think that all academic health centers should be doing. We all have the responsibility for training the health care professionals that the nations needs. The upside of academically diverse students is that you're giving a broad opportunity for people to participate in the care of patients, the demographics of the nation are changing, and so if we're not responsive to that it's great to have great innovation, and technology, but if it's not useful to the people, then what's the benefit of it.