Monday, January 30, 2012

Two Initiatives Aim to Increase Number of African Americans in Medicine


Tours for Diversity in Medicine to launch HBCU tour during Black History Month

The Aetna Foundation has awarded a $210,000 grant to Tours for Diversity in Medicine (TDM), a new initiative founded by former medical school students, to provide college students of color with a wide range of information and advice to plan for careers in medicine and dentistry, and ultimately diversify the health care profession. TDM is a project of Hip Hop Health Inc., that seeks to educate, inspire and cultivate future physicians of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds by forming local connections in order to fulfill a national need.

The inaugural tour will take 11 doctors, dentists and medical school students to five HBCUs in the south, providing premedical enrichment activities. According to the press release, although minority populations comprise more than 26 percent of the U.S. population, African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans combined represent only about 6 percent of practicing physicians and 5 percent of dentists.

Alden Landry, M.D.(pictured left), an emergency room physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and co-director of Tour for Diversity in Medicine, said, "Our goal is to increase interest in health care as careers for students from minority populations and help them overcome perceived barriers to medical and dental school, such as high tuition costs, long training and a challenging application process. By offering workshops with established health care practitioners from similar backgrounds to theirs, we believe we can open the pipeline for talented young people of color who can make a significant difference in improving health care in the U.S."

Participating schools and tour dates are: Monday, February 20 at Hampton University, Hampton, Va.; Tuesday, February 21 at Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, N.C.; Wednesday, February 22 at South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, S.C.; Thursday, February 23 at Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Ala.; and Friday, February 24 at Jackson State University, Jackson, Miss.

Kameron Matthews, M.D. (pictured right), J.D., co-director of the Tour for Diversity in Medicine and a family physician in Chicago stated, "without the assistance of mentors over the years, I would not be a doctor today. We want to connect students with physicians and dentists who are dedicated to their growth and their future."

Gillian Barclay, D.D.S., Dr.P.H., vice president of the Aetna Foundation said, "As our nation's population becomes increasingly diverse, we need health care providers who have the cultural competency to engage their patients fully with their treatment and ensure good health outcomes. Multiplying the number of men and women from underrepresented minorities is a fundamental strategy to achieving health equity in the United States. The Aetna Foundation is pleased to be the Tour's founding sponsor and support this innovative initiative as part of our portfolio of programs aimed at developing health care leaders from underrepresented communities."

Follow Landry, Matthews and other health care providers during the week long tour via Facebook and Twitter @Tour4Diversity. For more information on TDM and to register for the free tour, visit http://www.tour4diversity.org/.

Physicians Medical Forum Hosts Day-Long Conference to Recruit African American Students to Attend Medical School and Practice in the Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California

Pre-med, University/College & Post-baccalaureate Students and High School Seniors Invited to Participate on Saturday, Feb. 18th

The Physicians Medical Forum (PMF) is an initiative that aims to increase the number of African American physicians, residents and medical students in the Oakland/San Francisco Bay and Northern California, while helping to improve the delivery of culturally competent medical care to better meet the health care needs of African Americans and the community at-large. On Saturday, February 18th, the organization will host its annual "Doctors on Board Program," a day-long, tuition-free, information-filled series of seminars, workshops and case studies to encourage and increase the number of black students attending medical school.

Several of the Bay Area’s most prominent physicians and medical school representatives will provide students with an innovative and exciting opportunity to explore varied facets of medicine and provide information about medical school preparation, medical specialties, and life as a physician. Upon completion of the program, students will be awarded certificates with a reception immediately following.

Dr. Albert L. Brooks, PMF President and Chief of Medical Services at Washington Hospital in Fremont, California said, "I am proud to be a part of the Physician's Medical Forum, and look forward to meeting and mentoring young African American students who aspire to become doctors. It is rewarding to know that so many physicians from throughout Northern California are donating their time to encourage young minds to consider attending medical school."

There is no cost to participate. Students who wish to take part in this groundbreaking, one-day program must submit the Student Application found here.

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