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Health & Wholeness Ministry Newsletter: June 2006
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Posted on Tue, Jun 6, 2006
Minority Representation in Healthcare
June is the month of commencements. As graduates are transitioning this month, they are often asked �what will you do now?� With so many disparities in healthcare and the African-American health status, more graduates should consider seeking a related career path. One reason for disparities in our health status is that our nation's physicians, medical researchers and basic scientists-the very people fighting the battle for better health status are not representative of our minority communities. Blacks. Latinos, and Native Americans continue to be under-represented in our nation's medical schools. Whereas twelve percent of the nation's population is African American, blacks account for less than eight percent of first year medical students, less than six percent of medical school graduates, and less than three percent of medical school faculties.
We must make the health care setting more representative of our diverse populations. One solution is to reach deep into our communities and involve young students early on. Our hospitals, health centers, professional schools and corporations must work with local elementary and secondary schools to stimulate and develop an interest in the sciences among minority students. Since 1991, nineteen medical schools have established or expanded magnet health science high school programs, and twenty-three have implemented science education partnerships with local schools. Half of all medical schools now sponsor academic enrichment programs for high school or college students. We need to expand such initiatives to include all medical schools, and schools of dentistry, schools of nursing, and health care institutions. Additionally, we can encourage our students to pursue careers in medicine. If we don�t, who will?
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