In response to the need for a more diverse workforce, our medical school developed new policies and procedures that focus on the recruitment and selection of diverse students with a specific focus on those considered underrepresented in medicine. To understand what these students bring to the practice of medicine, researchers investigated their perception of their cultural assets and how they plan to use these assets as physicians. A cross-section of 23 ethnically, culturally, and geographically diverse medical students were interviewed and data were analyzed through phenomenographical methods. The results indicate that students view themselves as having multiple assets that could be of significant value in their future practice of medicine, including: a) an interest in science and access to family members in medicine, b) personal and familial struggles with health, c) self and family as immigrants, and d) strong family and community orientations. Students perceived these as cultural assets because they could directly identify where these assets could be valuable in medicine but questioned how to maintain them throughout medical school. Now that our institution has identified these assets, next steps include administrators' investigation of ways to leverage them through curricular and educational programs.
- Cultural assets
- Qualitative research
- Undergraduate medical education