November 18, 2022

Black Residents Face Higher Attrition Rates than White Counterparts

Medical trainee


According to a new investigation by STAT News, Black medical trainees leave or are dismissed from residency or training programs at higher rates than their white peers. The result of this is that Black physicians are far less likely to enter elite, and more lucrative, branches of medicine, which perpetuates disparities.

In interviews with former residents and physicians, a common pattern appeared, which included unclear justification for termination, Black residents being denied the chance to rectify mistakes, and their white counterparts not being penalized for similar infractions. Interviewees also noted that appeals processes were risible and administrators and staff meant to assist them were of little help.

STAT News found a similar pattern of dismissal or leave rates at all levels of medicine, not just in specialties, with rates for Black family and primary care residents much higher than their white counterparts. But the worst rates were still found in elite specialties, such as neurosurgery and orthopedics. 

This is a sadly common issue and one that we have encountered before at Berke-Weiss, and we were glad to read that the subject is getting attention. With more awareness of this issue, doctors and professors are exploring ways to tell this story but also to address the underlying inequalities.

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