Boston — The number of blacks and other minorities enrolling in U.S. medical schools has declined in the past decade, largely because of legal challenges to minority quotas and cuts in financial aid, researchers reported today.

Doctors at Columbia University, who conducted the survey, urged a renewed national effort to recruit minorities for the medical profession.

“T think it’s important to realize that everyone in society benefits from equity, not just minorities,” said Dr. Steven Shea, one of the report’s authors and an assistant professor of medicine and public health at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University.

Before 1964, fewer than 8 percent of students entering U.S. medical schools were black, Puerto Rican, American Indian or Mexican American, according to the report published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Over the next decade, the number increased dramatically to 10 percent, apparently due to affirmative action and financial aid programs begun in the early 1960s, the report said.

Since 1974, however, the percentage of minority enrollment declined. The number dropped to a low in 1978 of 8.7 percent — 6.4 percent blacks and 2.3 percent other minorities — but climbed to 9.7 percent —6.8 percent blacks and 2.9 percent other minorities —in 1983, the last year of the study.

The report said two court cases challenging affirmative action apparently had a significant impact on minority enrollments at medical schools.

In the first, Marco De Funis, a white student who was denied admission to the University of Washington Law School, sued because he said the school’s affirmative action program discriminated against him on the basis of race.

The second and more famous case was that of Allan Bakke, a 34yearold white engineer who was twice rejected by the University of California Medical School at Davis.

The first case never reached trial because DeFunis was admitted to the school. The Bakke case reached the Supreme Court, which found the University of California failed to demonstrate that quotas were necessary to achieve diversity and had therefore violated Bakke’s right to equal protection.

Between 1968 and 1974, the report said, the National Medical Foundation, a major private source of financial aid for minority medical students, was able to increase the amount awarded from $195,000 to $2.28 million.

Article extracted from this publication >>  October 18, 1985