Underrepresentation in Health Professions Programs and Monitoring Progress

Beginning in 2009 within the MDCM program, and 2017 within all other professional programs within the Faculty of Medicine, we have surveyed the diversity of incoming classes, and have compared the demographic diversity of our student population to available Réseau universitaire intégré de santé (RUIS), provincial and national data.

From these data, the following groups have been identified as underrepresented in health professional programs within the Faculty of Medicine:

  • Indigenous Persons (First Nations, Inuit, or Métis)
  • Black Persons
  • Persons from backgrounds in which the familial income is lower than the Quebec median (approximately $80,000/year familial income, with low income households within this cohort defined as having familial incomes of <$50,000/year)
  • Persons from rural or small population centre backgrounds (using the Census definitions: small population centre defined as having a population of 1000-29,999 persons, and rural defined as any place in Canada with a population less than 1000/persons)

The Indigenous Health Professions Program oversees programs aimed at the recruitment of qualified Indigenous individuals to health professions programs. The Widening Participation Committee oversees programs aimed at the recruitment of persons from the other 3 identified groups to health professions programs. The Social Accountability and Community Engagement Office is charged with conducting annual surveys of the demographics of incoming classes in the health professions in order that progress with recruitment of identified groups may be monitored.

The Widening Participation Committee, with subsequent ratification at the Committee for Medical Education Governance, has determined the following target percentages for persons from underrepresented groups to the MDCM program:


Target Percentage MDCM Program 2017-2022 (with justification)

Aspirational Target MDCM Program (beyond 2022)

How are we doing?

(2017-2019 data, MDCM program)

Indigenous Persons

1.6-2.1 %


Justification: 2.1 % represents provincial population share for persons self-identifying as Indigenous. Converted to student numbers this represents 3.7 students/year. Therefore, we accept a target of 3 or 4 students per year as our goal, in order to reflect McGill University’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation

4.9% (Canadian population share)

2019 Data: 0

2018 Data: 1.6%

2017: 0.6




Black Persons



Justification: This number represents 2/3 of population share. The goal is realistically achievable and represents an improvement over pre-2017 data

3.2 % (provincial population share)

2019 Data: 0.7%

2018: 2.2%

2017: 2.3%



Persons from Lower Socioeconomic Backgrounds

25% of the class


Justification: By definition, 50% of persons come from family income backgrounds below the median. The goal of 25% is realistically achievable in the short term and represents an improvement above pre 2017 data.

More than 25% and less than 50%

2019 Data: 24,6%

2018: 25.1% of the class came from household with familial income <$80,000/year


2017: 31.6% of the class came from household with familial income < $80,000/year


Meeting Target

Persons from Rural or Small Population Centre Backgrounds

11% of the class


Justification: Approximately 11% of the population in the McGill RUIS reside in either rural or small population centres

11% of the class

2019 Data:11.5%

2018 Data:

11.7 % -- Small Population Centre

2.8 % -- Rural


Meeting Target

Targets for Nursing, Physical and Occupational Therapy, and Communication Sciences and Disorders are currently being developed by the Widening Participation Committee, and will be proposed for ratification to the leadership of the respective health professions schools. They will be published as an update to this webpage when developed.

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