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Opinion: For minority students, the pipeline to an M.D. is leaky. Here’s how I managed to make it through

For minority students like me, the path to medicine is uncertain and uncharted. We need to build stronger, less-leaky pipelines for these students.

The population of physicians in the U.S. should look like the population as a whole. But it doesn’t. African-Americans and Hispanics now make up about 31 percent of the U.S. population, but comprise just 15 percent of this year’s first-year medical students. That number would be higher if we could figure out how to keep potential medical students from falling through the leaks in the pipeline from grammar school to medical school and beyond.

The leaks are everywhere. Lack of family support: drip. Low-functioning schools: drip. Little guidance or support from teachers: drip. No role models or mentors: drip.

As an African-American girl growing up in a lower-middle-class neighborhood in North Carolina, one of those “drips” should have derailed my journey. Yet I managed to traverse the pipeline and become

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