UQ's school of medicine is getting fewer women through the doors. Photo: Lawrence Dutrieux
There has been a sharp drop in the number of women accepted into the School of Medicine at the University of Queensland, latest research in the Medical Journal of Australia shows.
This follows the controversial decision by UQ in 2009 to scrap a formal interview with the potential domestic medical students as part of the selection process.
By 2012, the percentage of women being accepted in medicine at University of Queensland slumped to 26 per cent, while the number of young men had jumped to 74 per cent.
Selection in medicine since 2009 at UQ - for domestic students only - has been based on their results in what is called the GAMSAT examinations.
GAMSAT - the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test - is a scheme developed by a consortium of medical schools to judge science knowledge and entry levels.
However the latest research, completed by the former dean of UQ’s medical school, Professor David Wilkinson, shows fewer women are now accepted for medicine.
‘‘The interview may play an important role in ensuring gender equity in selection,’’ Professor Wilkinson writes.
‘‘And medical schools should carefully monitor the consequences of changes to selection policy.’’
Professor Wilkinson said gender imbalance in medicine must be avoided.
"Our view is that cohorts of admitted medical students should be representative of the communities from which they are drawn, and which they will later serve," he wrote.
Traditionally, men get better results in the GAMSAT tests, while young women perform better in the interview process, the research shows.
However part of that appears to be a ‘‘higher weighting’’ where one GAMSAT section which focused on biological reasoning
Professor Wilkinson said the interview stage appeared to address a ‘‘gender balance’’ in the percentage of the men and women being accepted into medicine.
Professor Wilkinson reports in the Medical Journal of Australia his research should now be considered seriously by the School of Medicine at University of Queensland.
There have never been interviews for international students applying for medicine.
Overall 4051 enrolments were studied over nine successive years, from 2004 until 2012.
The research also reveals the sharp drop in the number of domestic students - living in Australia - who have been successful in entering medicine.
The proportion of domestic students at University of Queensland has dropped from 100 per cent in 2004, to 71 per cent in 2008, down to 40.1 per cent in 2012.
The University of Queensland’s School of Medicine was approached for comment.
Several senior female doctors last night declined to comment on the outcome of the change.