The United States government has long recognized the health disparities between racial and ethnic groups in the country. Despite improvements in overall health status, members of minority populations still experience poorer health outcomes than the majority white population. This is due to a variety of root causes, including social inequalities, discrimination, and structural factors.
Black doctorsare uniquely positioned to help bridge this gap, as they are better equipped to understand the cultural and psychosocial factors that influence health-care seeking behavior.
In 1940, only 2.8% of doctors in the US were black, with only 0.1% being black women. However, by 1975, the National Ambulatory Care Survey found that black physicians had a volume of cases, of which 21.6% were classified as having serious or very serious conditions and 34.1% as having mildly serious conditions. This suggests that black doctors are providing quality care to their patients. Furthermore, minority doctors were more likely than white doctors to have Medicaid patients in their practice.
This is important because it means that minority doctors are providing care to those who may not otherwise have access to it. Additionally, minorities were more than five times more likely than whites to identify a minority doctor as their regular provider. Starting a new medical school aligned with an HBCU could also increase the flow of new black doctors into the healthcare system. Increasing diversity in medical training can expose physicians in training to a wider range of different perspectives and cultural backgrounds among their colleagues in medical school, residency, and practice.
This could lead to better educated and more culturally competent doctors and better health outcomes for minority patients and majority patients alike. The goal of increasing the diversity of the medical workforce in the United States is an important one, as it could lead to better health outcomes for all patients. However, there is currently no evidence to support or refute the hypothesis that having a diverse student body enriches the education of all medical students. More research is needed to understand how increasing diversity in medical education could affect the educational environment and the quality of doctors it produces.