By Sandra Long Weaver
Tribune Editorial Director

Meharry Medical College has seen a record number of applications this year as more Black students seek a path to become doctors.

James Hildreth, M.D., president of Meharry, said they normally receive around 7000 applications for 110 seats but this year have received just under 10,000 applications. And Dental school applications have increased significantly as well, he said.

“The pool is very strong in terms of the GPAs and MCAT scores,” he said. “I’m excited about that.” 

Applications to all medical schools are up 18 percent. Because more Black, Latino and Native Americans are nearly three times more likely to die from COVID-19, more students of color have become interested in attending medical school. Students want to know they can make a difference in their communities.

Hildreth said he was specially proud of this year’s graduates. “This class is really knocking it out of the park, especially in the dental school,” he said. Some are going to (dental) residencies that have not taken our students before, he added.

“We now have some of the top programs calling and asking for our students,” Hildreth said. “Some of these same places had had rejected our students in the past and now they are calling and asking to make sure our students apply.”

Hildreth does not expect to have a large graduation in May, he said. A decision still has to be made “but we may have a hooding ceremony or live stream with me handing them their diplomas,” he said.

“I’m not comfortable that we’’ll be far enough along to take that chance” in early May of having large groups of people. He said enough people may be vaccinated by October that the college may have a convocation.