Tour for Diversity in Medicine is an initiative founded by two African American doctors to provide college students of color with a wide range of information and advice to plan for careers in medicine and dentistry to ultimately diversify the health care profession. In 2012, the inaugural tour visited five HBCU campuses providing pre-medical enrichment activities. This year for the first time, the program engaged high school students during its last stop on a 400-mile Northeast tour at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
On Saturday, September 29th, 100 African American and Latino high school students and undergraduate students from the greater DC area attended all-day workshops led by doctors, dentists and Georgetown medical school students. High school students attended workshops about careers in health care fields, including medicine, dentistry, nursing and pre-med college preparatory skills. Additional topics included the medical school application process, the MCAT/Medical School Admission Test, a primer on interviewing skills and an overview of health disparities facing minorities.
Students also interacted one-on-one with mentors like Dr. Kameron Matthews and Dr. Alden Landry, founders of the tour who offered personal insights on how to build a successful career in medicine or dentistry.
Why is this program needed? According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans compose of more than 26 percent of the U.S. population, but only represent six percent of practicing physicians and five percent of dentists. Research reveals that patients receiving care from physicians of the same race rate medical visits as more satisfying and report being more engaged in their treatment. In 2011, African-American and Hispanic students made up only 15 percent of all U.S. medical school applicants.
By reaching students early, starting at the high school level and offering an opportunity for them to network with professionals who come from similar backgrounds, Tour for Diversity has the ability to empower students to consider a career in medicine early on – and to imagine what’s possible for patients and their communities with a more diverse physician population.
The Tour for Diversity in Medicine is made possible with support from the Aetna Foundation, U.S. Army, AAMC, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, American Dental Education Association and the American College of Podiatric Medicine.
Learn more about the Tour for Diversity in Medicine by visiting tour4diversity.org.