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Psychiatry

Robert C. Davidson, MD, MPH; Ernest L. Lewis
JAMA. 1998;279(7):508-510. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-279-7-jbk0218.
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In Reply.— These letters address 3 common issues with which we agree. The first can be summarized as concluding that criteria other than the GPA and MCAT scores of the applicant can or should be used in accepting entrants to medical school. Unfortunately, the records of the admissions committees over the 20 years of the study did not record the factors that prompted the committee to offer admission despite lower objective measures. Traditional race-based affirmative action preferences were an obvious factor. Dr Stryer suggests outcome measures that could be validated and then used as admissions criteria. We would be delighted to have such proven criteria. This leads to the second common issue. The selection of medical students should reflect the type of physicians society needs in the future. We intuitively feel that this was the major factor in many of the decisions made by admissions committees at this school. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a consensus as to what society needs for its future physicians. The third issue relates to the concept that affirmative action lowers the quality of students and ultimately the quality of our physician graduates. This was the major issue prompting our study. We are comfortable in defending our findings that we could identify no objective evidence of producing an inferior product by our special consideration admissions process.

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