Howard University #1 in Sending Black Applicants to U.S. Medical Schools


WASHINGTON, D. C. (August 8, 2018)  — Howard University is America’s No. 1 institution for producing Black applicants to U.S. medical schools, according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges. In the 2017-18 academic year, 118 Howard undergraduates applied to U.S. medical schools, ahead of all other colleges and universities. Nearly 150 years ago, eight students launched Howard University’s College of Medicine. Today, the institution enrolls more than 300 African American students, more than double the number of Black students in the leading predominantly White medical school.

“Howard University prepares more African American pre-med students to apply to medical school and enrolls the most African American students in our own esteemed medical school because we are committed to our mission to diversify the workforce with an infusion of talented, well-prepared scholars,” says President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, a three-time graduate of Howard University. “Despite these strides there is still a significant underrepresentation of Black and Hispanic medical students enrolling in school. The number of Black male applicants is down from 1976, but we are encouraged and honored to contribute as the institution of choice for many students pursuing careers in medicine.”

Incoming freshman Quincy Maxwell, from Somerset, N.J., has long nurtured a dream of becoming a doctor. Choosing Howard University for his undergraduate education may be the best decision he has made so far to realize his ambitions. Maxwell has set his sights on one day becoming a cardiologist after experiencing his mother battle for her health.

“My mom is a two-term brain tumor survivor. I want to help people who are dealing with the same things she is,” says Maxwell, who anticipates that his Howard education will give him an added lift on the competitive path to medical school.

Howard University’s success can be attributed to the creation of several programs that seek to develop qualified Black medical school applicants. One example is the Pre-Freshman Summer Enhancement Program for incoming undergraduate freshmen. This summer, Maxwell and 24 other incoming Howard freshmen lived on campus for six weeks to participate in intensive classes in biology, chemistry, English, and math.   

“Howard University has long had a range of initiatives designed to develop a pool of qualified applicants for the nation’s medical schools,” says Dr. Hugh E. Mighty, dean of Howard University College of Medicine and vice president of clinical affairs. “We start by nurturing promising students in high school and by guiding pre-med students on campus with proper academic support, mentorship and tutoring. Our efforts have delivered hundreds of deserving students to the doors of the America’s medical schools.” 

The students also took seminars designed to expose them to different professional medical career fields, such as mental illness, and to broader topics such as social justice and international service. Group visits included the American Psychiatric Association, the Association of American Medical Schools, and health professional programs at Temple University, University Maryland, as well as the Howard University College of Medicine.

“The visits were important to me because I had an opportunity to network with a lot of people,” says Samaria Campbell, a participant in the pre-freshman program. “Now I have people I can call for internships, general advice and networking.”

Additionally, the pre-freshman program includes a mentorship component with current Howard medical students and pre-med seniors, many of whom also matriculated through Howard’s pre-freshmen program. Says Fareed Balugon, a student in the program, “Based on what I learned, I am definitely more confident now, especially after the advice from the students.”

Howard also offers a similar summer program to undergraduate students from other historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), which serves as a pipeline into Howard’s College of Medicine. The Fall class of 2022 includes students from 11 HBCUs, including Xavier, Morehouse, Spelman, Hampton, Howard, Texas Southern, Prairie View, University of DC, Tuskegee, Meharry and Miles.

Although students have the option to attend medical school anywhere, those who continue into Howard’s renowned medical program are welcomed in a traditional White Coat Ceremony. This year 123 new medical students crossed the stage to receive their short white coats. For the next four years they will study various fields ranging from emergency medicine to radiation oncology. Upon graduation, they will exchange their short coats for the full length version, indicating that they have achieved the rank of M.D. Still President Frederick knows there is room for many more to follow this path.

“Over the past 150 years, Howard University has perfected a winning formula to develop talented students into skilled surgeons,” says President Frederick. “Pursuing a career in medicine is a calling that I want more young people of color to realize can become their reality.”

Howard University is one of 12 schools in the nation designated as a “National Health Careers Opportunity Program Academy” and funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Howard University Health Careers Opportunity Program, known as HCOP, is a multifaceted project that brings together the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Dentistry, and Medicine. The goal is to improve access to quality health care for all, particularly for communities that are medically undeserved.

For media inquiries, please contact Sholnn Freeman, Office of University Communications,

To learn more about Howard University pre-med pipeline programs, visit the Howard University Center for Preprofessional Education

About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, two Marshall Scholars, one Schwarzman Scholar, over 70 Fulbright Scholars and 22 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit