Self-reported student mistreatment in US medical schools

Bottom Line: An analysis of annual surveys from graduating students at all U.S. allopathic medical schools suggests self-reported medical student mistreatment remains common and varies by sex, race/ethnicity and sexual orientation. This observational study included 27,504 unique student surveys, representing 72.1% of graduating medical school students in 2016 and 2017. The types of mistreatment students were questioned about included public humiliation, being threatened, physical harm and unwanted sexual advances, as well as discrimination based on gender, race/ethnicity and sexual orientation. Researchers report self-reported medical student mistreatment was common, with 35.4% reporting at least one type of mistreatment, the most common of which was public humiliation. A larger proportion of female students compared with male students reported at least one episode of mistreatment; Asian, underrepresented minority and multiracial students reported higher rates of mistreatment and discrimination based on race/ethnicity than white students; and a larger proportion of lesbian, gay or bisexual students reported an episode of mistreatment compared with heterosexual students. Limitations of the study include self-reported information and differences in how students may classify experiences. Authors acknowledge the results may underreport medical student mistreatment because some students who experienced mistreatment may have left medical school before graduation.

Authors: Katherine A. Hill, B.A., B.S., Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, and coauthors.

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JAMA Internal Medicine