The Georgetown University School of Medicine welcomed its Class of 2025, which it is calling the most diverse class in the school’s history.
The School of Medicine received nearly 18,000 applications for the Class of 2025, with a 40% increase in applications from students who self-identified as being underrepresented in medicine. At a 2.39% acceptance rate, this year’s incoming class is made up of 203 students, including 62 who self-identify as underrepresented. Furthermore, this academic year marks the first time the School of Medicine will be led by a person of color: dean for medical education Dr. Leon “Lee” Jones.
Including people from diverse backgrounds creates an environment where the whole class can better learn from each other, according to Jones.
“In medicine, we know that diversity matters — in the delivery of care by our future physicians and importantly, in their foundational development,” Jones wrote in an email to The Hoya. “When we have more diversity, we are able to bring critical perspectives to learning. It is especially important that we have physicians in our workforce who come from the same backgrounds as the many patients we treat.”
Diverse identities among health care professionals are essential both to the medical profession and society as a whole, according to Lawrence Gostin, professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and faculty director at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law.
“Patients should be able to see physicians who look like them and who understand their needs and desires,” Gostin wrote in an email to The Hoya. “This requires a fully inclusive medical education system.”
This school’s claim of increased diversity comes in the second year after Georgetown established the Racial Justice Committee for Change, a panel chaired by medical students and faculty members to enact change for racial equity and justice at the School of Medicine. The committee’s mission stressed recruiting a diverse student body and developing curriculum changes that emphasize the intersection of identity and medicine.
According to Jones, the RJCC has especially focused on listening to student activism regarding university support of the GU272 referendum, and the School of Medicine is working toward actively addressing student activism around the referendum.
“Uniformly the response has always been that every place has work to do, and that’s not news to us. What was enticing to us is that you were actually admitting it, working on it and trying to move forward with it,” Jones said in a Zoom interview with The Hoya.
The School of Medicine strives to create an inclusive and welcoming campus for students of all identities, according to Edward Healton, executive dean of the School of Medicine.
“In alignment with the Georgetown mission, we intend to be the medical school of choice for underrepresented students seeking a holistic education with a focus on social justice,” Healton wrote in an email to The Hoya.
The School of Medicine is also working to adjust the financial aid and admissions process to promote the inclusion of students from diverse financial backgrounds, according to Jones.
“We are now combining the financial aid office and admissions into a unified office so that we can more efficiently get people’s financial packages out to them in a quick way and then really address who it is that we want to bring here because the diversity of the class is so important,” Jones said.
Currently, the School of Medicine offers need-based institutional financial aid and subsidized student loans.
In line with the university’s values, the School of Medicine strives to promote justice and equality in the world of health, according to Gostin.
“I think the future of medicine at Georgetown is one that focuses on health inequalities based on race and socioeconomic status,” Gostin wrote. “Thinking about justice in health is part of our Jesuit tradition. I believe we will continue to see Georgetown’s students being highly diverse in the coming years.”