How Can We Measure Medical School Applicant Socioeconomic Status?

diversity  Medical student diversity is an important aim, with socioeconomic diversity perhaps more difficult to measure and attain than other types of diversity.  The authors suggest an easy-to-administer measure of parental education and occupation (EO) with 5 levels ranging from EO-1 (parent has less than a bachelor’s degree) to EO-5 (parent has doctoral/professional degree and “executive, managerial, professional position”).  There was a strong, graded correlation with other widely used measures of socioeconomic status, such as low family contribution to education.  This reviewer felt that, given that 32.7% of EO-1 candidates had no other measures of disadvantaged status and census data showing that only around 30% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, that there might be some utility to sub-dividing the EO-1 group into more and less disadvantaged subgroups. — Laura Willett, MD

Grbic D, Jones DJ, Case ST. The Role of Socioeconomic Status in Medical School Admissions: Validation of a Socioeconomic Indicator for Use in Medical School Admissions. Acad Med. 2015 Jan 27.

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