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Stanford internship draws diverse medical students

The need for more diversity in the physician population has prompted some concern from faculty at Stanford medical school about difficulties recruiting residents from underrepresented backgrounds, in part, because of a false reputation for treating only white, upper-class patients.

I wrote a story for today's issue of Inside Stanford Medicine that describes the success of a two-year-old one-month internship at Stanford in helping to recruit a few of these sought-after medical students into residency programs. I quote Jessica Valdez, an Hispanic medical student in the internship program, who is now a resident at Stanford in pediatrics:

It was like a job interview for a month. It allowed me to show the residents and attendees what kind of student I would be in the future. It also showed me the kind of patient population at Stanford and the research opportunities here.

Valdez is one of five interns from last year's class of 18 who have since become residents at Stanford, three of them in pediatrics.

In an e-mail from one of the physicians who helped mentor these students, Laura Bachrach, MD, professor of pediatrics, wrote:

Unfortunately, medical students from across the US seeking pediatrics residency may view Packard and Stanford as only white, upper and middle class. To breakthrough this stereotype, we have valued the opportunity to host (these internship) students within our Packard facility for elective time. In this way they can see the diverse physicians and patients who make up our 'family.' ... All three residents recruited here in pediatrics after this program are doing great!

The one-month all-expenses paid visiting rotation internship called Stanford's Clinical and Translational Research Scholars Program, which I first wrote about when it started in 2009, recruits medical students from underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in research.

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