Socioeconomic Status as a Determinant for Medical School Admissions

Endorsed In: 
March, 2016
Paper Type: 
Position Paper

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  • Rishad Khan (Western University)
  • Ronald Leung (McMaster University)
  • Brendan Lew (McMaster University)
  • Daegan Sit (McMaster University)
  • Leora Day (University of Toronto)
  • Tavis Apramian (Western University)


Socioeconomic status is a measure of an individual's economic and social position in relation to others. The comparison is typically based on a combination of income, education and occupation. A lack of socioeconomic diversity among medical students produces physicians who are not representative of their patients and serves to exacerbate inequities in access to care. In striving to train doctors who meet the varied needs of Ontarians, medical schools must improve admissions policies to increasingly admit students with low socioeconomic status. The Ontario Medical Students' Association (OMSA) asserts that lack of socioeconomic diversity in medical schools is an important issue which impacts applicants, students, and patients, and requires changes to the status quo.


  • Make demonstration of efforts to increase socioeconomic diversity through admissions policies part of Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools criteria.
  • Implement a Fee Assistance Program to reduce costs associated with writing the MCAT and application fees to Ontario Medical Schools and make clear statements on the availability of financial aid.
  • Utilize the Association of American Medical College's Socioeconomic Status Education Occupation indicator to collect data from applicants to Ontario Medical Schools through the Ontario Medical School Application Service.
  • Support research of mentorship programs that target underrepresented populations and evaluate their efficacy in increasing socioeconomic diversity among students at Ontario Medical Schools.