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Inclusive Excellence

February 7, 2023

To the YSM Community:

In the coming months, we will learn the Supreme Court decisions regarding race-conscious considerations in undergraduate admissions in the cases of Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina. We need not wait for these decisions to reaffirm the strong commitment of Yale School of Medicine (YSM) to diversity and inclusive excellence. As a school charged with training future leaders in science and medicine, we believe that enrolling talented and hardworking students from diverse backgrounds promotes intellectual creativity and enhances curiosity, compassion, and care for all patients. We will continue to engage in career development and outreach programs to ensure that we mentor, sponsor, and attract students who, by virtue of their lived experience, might not believe that an education at YSM is within their reach.

Our admissions committee evaluates student candidates using a holistic approach and considers each applicant’s commitment to medicine, compassion, maturity, curiosity, and resilience, as well as measures of academic preparation such as grades and MCAT scores. We believe that these are qualities of the best physicians and physician-scientists. We further understand that the same characteristics that are underrepresented in medicine—Black race or Hispanic ethnicity, female gender (underrepresented in some fields), lower socioeconomic status, disability, sexual and gender minority, and history of military service—are often associated with experiences that lead to resilience, an important trait in medicine and science.

Importantly, with our intentional, holistic approach to admissions, YSM does not manage based on metrics, such as those used in the U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) or other rankings. Understanding that national rankings are unlikely to disappear, we and other schools have sought to influence information disseminated through USNWR, as exemplified by the recent piloting of diversity information. Most data presented by USNWR for research-intensive medical schools are publicly available through databases such as National Institutes of Health (NIH) RePORTER and through the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) report. Nevertheless, many students who have not had the opportunity to attend colleges with well-developed counseling programs, and their families, share that they value the accessibility of information published in rankings.

Lastly, one of the most important means through which we can promote diversity and inclusion among medical students is to make a Yale medical education financially accessible to all regardless of socioeconomic status. To this end, in 2018, former YSM Dean Robert Alpern, MD, began working to reduce the debt burden of our students with financial need. Consequently, the median debt of students graduating from YSM was $79,750 in 2022, compared to $200,000 nationally. Reducing medical student debt through philanthropy has been a primary goal of our ongoing capital campaign. The recent extraordinary generosity of The Starr Foundation and Chairman Maurice R. Greenberg will allow us to reduce debt for medical education to $10,000 per year or $40,000 total over four years for students in need of financial aid.

YSM is committed to inclusive excellence and to working in meaningful ways to advance the diversity and richness of our student body. I am so grateful for the generosity of our community members who invest time in outreach and mentorship, serve on the admissions committee, and provide support to applicants and students, as well as for our generous donors who help to make a YSM education accessible.


Nancy J. Brown, MD
Jean and David W. Wallace Dean of Medicine
C.N.H. Long Professor of Internal Medicine