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Texas Medical Association Supports Medical School Consideration of DACA Recipients

The Texas Medical Association represents more than 55,000 physicians and medical students in the state. The association recognizes that DACA (Deferred Admission for Childhood Arrivals) recipients are eligible for primary, secondary, and post-secondary educational programs in the state.

However, graduates of Texas universities who are DACA recipients previously have been eligible to apply to only one Texas medical school, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and this will end with the start of the 2021 academic year. Texas A&M College of Medicine is the second TMDSAS medical school to consider DACA recipient applicants. As of spring 2021, about 50 U.S. medical schools accept DACA recipients.

TMA adopted new policy in May that supports a re-evaluation of admission policies by Texas medical schools in relation to the eligibility of DACA recipients. Should a Texas school make a decision to accept DACA recipients, TMA would support such a decision as well as an informational campaign to inform leadership, faculty, and staff about the DACA program.

Demystifying What DACA Recipient Status Means for Pre-Meds and Physicians
A common myth DACA recipients face is that their ineligibility for federal student aid could be an impediment to their success. However, DACA students are accepted to Texas undergraduate institutions and are our own graduates. These students qualify for state financial aid, in-state tuition, and do not count against the 10% non-resident cap for medical school admissions.

 Another concern has been about the ability for DACA physicians to be accepted to a residency program. A TMA survey of sponsors of residency programs showed that none of these programs reported a policy that disqualifies DACA recipients. DACA physicians can:

 Participate in the National Resident Matching Program to potentially match to a residency position

  • Participate in rotations through U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs health care clinics as medical students or residents
  •  Qualify for Medicare GME direct and indirect funding for sponsoring institutions during residency
  •  Qualify for Texas Resident-in-Training Permits and medical licensure
  •  Qualify for research funding
  •  Qualify to sit for exams for board certification from ABMS and AOA BOS
  •  Be employed in Texas

Potential Benefit

With over 95% of DACA recipients reporting being bilingual and many showing an interest in serving medically underserved areas, DACA recipients can play a critical role in furthering

efforts to diversify the physician workforce, treat underserved communities, and reduce physician shortages.

About the author: Marcia Collins is the associate VP for medical education. She has devoted much of her professional career to monitoring trends and characteristics of the state’s physician workforce. Marcia joined TMA in 1996 and serves as the association’s liaison with the medical schools and staffs a number of physician committees including: TMA Council on Medical Education TMA Subcommittee for Academic Physicians TMA Committee on Physician Distribution and Health Care Access TMA Reference Committee on Medical Education (House of Delegates) Ad hoc Council of Medical School Deans She conducts research and drafts policy, advocacy, and public relations materials in the promotion of a high quality medical education system. Her duties include liaison with the state’s higher education coordinating board and medical board. Her personal interests include a passion for travel (recently substituted with gardening), photography, and her Pink Floyd music collection. One of her favorite activities outside TMA is driving German rental cars on the Autobahn at completely unreasonable speeds. She is married to her high school sweetheart and her most treasured role in life is parenting her daughter who is now 24 and lives in Austin.

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