In a recent Invited Commentary published in Academic Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Rich Schwartzstein, MD, Director of the Carl J. Shapiro Institute for Education and Research argues that as educators struggle to define the characteristics of the “right” candidates for medical school and design processes to identify and admit those applicants, it is important to consider the message being sent by calls for the MCAT exam to play a reduced role in admissions decisions.

He asserts that educators must avoid diminishing the importance of intellectual rigor and – while pursuing goals for a more diverse physician workforce – maintain standards that ensure medicine’s commitment to patients. In 2015, the MCAT was revised to focus more on analytical reasoning skills and behavioral and social science knowledge to ensure that future physicians have the capabilities needed to care for patients in the 21st century. Schwartzstein was on the committee that helped develop the latest version of the MCAT.

Schwartzstein concludes with suggestions for how educators can work with under-resourced colleges and premedical programs to help disadvantaged students get the preparation they need to succeed in medical school and throughout their careers.

Dr. Schwartzstein welcomes the opportunity to share more specifics around his expert perspective. Please contact Lindsey Diaz-MacInnis at [email protected] or 617-667-7372 to set up an interview.