A critical scoping review of the connections between social mission and medical school admissions: BEME Guide No. 47

<p><b>Background:</b> Despite a growing focus on the social accountability of medical schools, there has been no substantive review of admissions related to the social mission of medical schools. This paper reports on a critical scoping review of the connections between social mission and medical school admissions.</p> <p><b>Methods:</b> Searches of seven bibliographic databases identified 1258 unique articles. After filtering for relevance, 71 articles were considered for final review. The results of the data extraction were synthesized using a combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques.</p> <p><b>Results:</b> Five reviewers conducted 149 data extractions from 71 papers. Social missions tended to focus either on access and equity issues for applicants from underrepresented populations or on the career choices of medical graduates and how they meet particular social needs. The connection between social missions and admissions was often implied but rarely considered or evaluated directly. There was a notable absence of empirical evidence, with calls for reform or program descriptions far outweighing the number of papers based on empirical findings.</p> <p><b>Conclusions:</b> Despite the move to social missions in medical education, there remains little direct connection between missions and admissions and little evidence reflecting the efficacy or impacts of making this connection.</p>