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News Release - The Queen’s School of Medicine is increasing efforts to recruit Black and Indigenous students

Friday, July 24, 2020

 Queen’s University is working to reduce systemic barriers to medical education by allocating 10 of its 100 seats to Black and Indigenous students in each class of its MD program, starting with the 2020-2021 undergraduate application cycle. These 10 seats will be made available through the Queen’s University Accelerated Route to Medical School (QuARMS) pathway, which was launched in 2012.

The only pathway of its kind in Canada, QuARMS recruits 10 students from across Canada each year to attend the Queen’s School of Medicine on an accelerated track. These students spend two years as undergraduates at Queen’s. Then, rather than take qualifying examinations such as the MCAT, which are part of the standard admissions process, they enter the four-year MD program in the Queen’s School of Medicine, provided they meet the pre-determined entrance criteria for QuARMS students.

Previously, QuARMS had been open to all graduating high-school students. Now these seats will be reserved for Indigenous peoples and Black Canadians. These seats are in addition to the four seats in the MD program that are designated, through the standard admissions process, for Indigenous students each year.

This decision is one part of the ongoing work the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) has underway to reduce barriers to education. Dean Philpott has recently announced that she is forming the Dean’s Action Table on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. This table will be comprised of students, staff, and faculty from all three schools in FHS: the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, and the School of Rehabilitation Therapy. The table will develop and implement a range of reforms across FHS in areas such as recruitment, mentorship and support, and curriculum.

“Queen’s recognizes that Indigenous peoples and Black Canadians have been historically underrepresented in the medical profession, and that standard medical admissions practices have imposed barriers to these groups. With this new approach to the QuARMS pathway, we are hoping to reach individuals who may not have considered Queen’s or the medical profession otherwise. Our Faculty aims to become a leader in Canada on cultural safety, anti-racism, anti-colonialism, and anti-oppression in health professions education. There is a large body of work to be done and this is one important step toward making a Queen’s health professions education more accessible.”- Dr. Jane Philpott, Dean, Queen’s University Faculty of Health Sciences

“When QuARMS was launched, it was designed both to attract exceptional students to Queen’s and as a pathway for students who face financial, systemic or social barriers to entering medicine through the traditional medical school application process. This change to the pathway is very much in keeping with its original vision of bringing students from underrepresented groups to Queen’s. In order to further reduce barriers, we are also actively exploring options to provide financial support to QuARMS students.”- Dr. Hugh MacDonald, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, Queen’s School of Medicine.



QuARMS website

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Media Contacts
Julie Brown
Media Relations Officer 

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