Queen’s increasing efforts to recruit Black and Indigenous medical students

Starting this academic year, Queen’s University is allocating 10 of the 100 seats in their MD program to Black and Indigenous students, in the interest of reducing systemic barriers to medical education. These seats will be available as part of the QuARMS pathway available to high school students interested in a degree in medicine.

Queen’s University Accelerated Route to Medical School (QuARMS), a program launched in 2012, recruits students from across Canada to attend Queen’s School of Medicine on an accelerated track. The students spend two years as undergraduates at Queen’s University and then enter the four year MD program without the qualifying examinations, if they meet the necessary entrance criteria.

This program was previously open to all graduating high-school students. Now these 10 seats will be reserved for Indigenous peoples and Black Canadians. These seats are in addition to the four seats in the MD program that are designated, through the standard admissions process, for Indigenous students each year.

“Queen’s recognizes that Indigenous peoples and Black Canadians have been historically underrepresented in the medical profession, and that standard medical admissions practices have imposed barriers to these groups. With this new approach to the QuARMS pathway, we are hoping to reach individuals who may not have considered Queen’s or the medical profession otherwise. Our Faculty aims to become a leader in Canada on cultural safety, anti-racism, anti-colonialism, and anti-oppression in health professions education. There is a large body of work to be done and this is one important step toward making a Queen’s health professions education more accessible,” said Dr. Jane Philpott, Dean of the Queen’s University Faculty of Health Sciences, in a statement.

The Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) is working to reduce barriers to education. Dean Philpott has recently announced that she is forming the Dean’s Action Table on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. This table will be comprised of students, staff, and faculty from all three schools in FHS: the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, and the School of Rehabilitation Therapy. The table will develop and implement a range of reforms across FHS in areas such as recruitment, mentorship and support, and curriculum

“When QuARMS was launched, it was designed both to attract exceptional students to Queen’s and as a pathway for students who face financial, systemic or social barriers to entering medicine through the traditional medical school application process. This change to the pathway is very much in keeping with its original vision of bringing students from underrepresented groups to Queen’s. In order to further reduce barriers, we are also actively exploring options to provide financial support to QuARMS students.” said Dr. Hugh MacDonald, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, Queen’s School of Medicine.

For more inforation on QuARMS, visit thier website: https://meds.queensu.ca/academics/quarms

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