News Stories

How Race Affects the Classroom

Health is a topic that scares a lot of people (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show)--We may have universal health care soon, but will we have enough doctors to go around? (Will we have to hire vampires and zombies?)

Researchers have found that adolescents from Latin American and Asian backgrounds experienced more discrimination than their peers from European backgrounds and that the discrimination came not only from other adolescents but from adults as well. The level of discrimination also impacted these teens' grade-point averages and their health and was associated with depression, distress and lower levels of self-esteem. Bullying by other kids and discrimination by adult teachers even affected their health, probably due to stress.

The researchers found that teens who reported higher levels of peer or adult discrimination also reported more aches, pains and other symptoms, as well as a lower overall grade-point average. Thus, discrimination may not only tax adolescents' physical and psychological resources but may also affect their ability to achieve in school today, as well as their jobs and college admissions tomorrow, which is probably why conducted a study to identify demographic variables prior to medical school acceptance found that nonwhite students were associated with a greater likelihood of academic withdrawal or dismissal.

At least there are more minorities enrolled in US medical schools this year, while total enrollment increased by 1.5% over 2009, to over 18,000 students, all underrepresented racial and ethnic groups saw gains in 2010. Does this bode well for our health care system? Dr. Darrell G. Kirch, who helped compile the survey that reveals this, says, "We are very encouraged that more minority students are pursuing a career in medicine, and hope that these strong gains continue in the years ahead."

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