Racial Diversity and Medicine

If you are Black, Hispanic or Native American, I bet you have noticed something. There are no doctors of your race to treat you. Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans make up 26 percent of the U.S. population, but only 6 % of practicing physicians come from these minorities. Underrepresented minorities have worse health status in many dimensions compared with the white population.

My work takes me to large metropolitan areas as well as hospitals and communities in more rural areas, and I am always struck by the lack of physicians of color when I see patients of every color in hospitals and clinics.

The Council on Graduate Medical Education says that "the racial/ethnic composition of the physician population should reflect the overall population's diversity". Since 1980, the percentage of U.S. medical graduates who are Asian American has risen 5 fold, but the underrepresented minority has remained flat.

Admission to medical school is dependent upon getting students interested and ready while they are undergraduates or even in high school. I believe we need a focused effort to identify underserved students and nurture them with financial support and mentoring. We need to make minority enrollment in medicine a priority. The past 25 years have shown us it will not happen without reaching out.


Rich said…
Maybe Medical schools such as one big one here in Boston have been too focused on bringing in foriegn talent?
Anonymous said…
Also not only bringing in foriegn talent but bring the qualifications to a degree where native born Americans cannot compete. Hospitals also compete to bring in lots of docs from overseas. It's rather difficult to find a doctor in Boston without a foriegn accent.

Just an observation not a judgement.
Toni Brayer MD said…
Because there are more residencies across the country than American trained medical students, we import foreign medical graduates to fill those spots. Many of those international graduates do not return to their country of origin and they stay in the U.S. to practice. Over 50% of primary care residency spots are filled by international medical grads. New medical schools are being built and there should be a focus on bringing U.S. born minority students into medical school.
Rich said…
Toni - I couldn't agree with you more. It seems The American way is to keep looking outside of America for it's resources. That just does not make sense nor does it serve the people who are here - minorities or not.
Anonymous said…
While having a doctor that looks like you available to treat you would be nice, it shouldn't be something that drives medical school admissions (unless someone's color is more important than their qualifications). Be careful what you wish for.
Anonymous said…
Coming from one of those big med schools in Boston, I can say that anyone on the ground knows who the affirmative action kids are and, fairly or not, they get judged every day with that hanging over them. Are you really doing these kids a great service?
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Buy Cialis said…
what are you talking about bro? no wait...damn it! you're right, it's true the black, hispanic and American native doctors are rare as a frog with hair.
It is quite ironic because in most of the tv shows that it is related to health there is a fraction of minorities that they work on a hospital.
Very effective material, lots of thanks for this article.
This will not have effect as a matter of fact, that's what I suppose.

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