Health Team

Campaign aims to get more black students into medical professions

Posted April 21, 2016

A new national campaign is aimed at bringing diversity to the medical profession.

African-Americans make up close to 13 percent of the U.S. population but they only represent 3 percent of all practicing physicians.

The national awareness campaign, called Black Men in White Coats, highlights the work of African-American physicians.

Dr. Cedric Bright, assistant dean of the University Of North Carolina School Of Medicine, said there ought to be more black doctors.

“In 1920, we had more African-American physicians per capita than we do now,” said Bright.

Bright and UNC pediatric surgeon Dr. Sean McLean are both featured in the video campaign, promoted nationally and internationally through social media and the State Board of Education.

“Hopefully, in the near future, we’ll get the videos out to all the public and charter schools throughout the state,” McLean said.

They said a major barrier to young black students pursuing a career in medicine is that too few people place that possibility in front of them.

“It’s not for lack of aptitude, it’s a lack of opportunity,” Bright said.

Bright and McLean said diversity in medicine improves care.

“It’s not just about color, not just about ethnicity. It’s about background, it’s about experiences,” said Bright.

“They do bring different perspectives to their treatment of patients and to the conversation overall,” said McLean.


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  • Jarfaris Brown Apr 22, 2016
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    The first step in getting black students into the medical profession is to get them to quit thinking they are black.

  • Lance Cotten Apr 22, 2016
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    It's NOT a lack of opportunity. It's there and can be obtained but like Mr. Jones mentioned in his post, students must graduate high school first and understand they must take the SAT. Again, it all starts at home with parents looking after their kids and being there for them and encouraging them to strive each day to be their best. As a matter of fact an African American student is more likely to get accepted to a college than a white student with similar academic performance. And this is due to affirmative action.

  • Byron Jones Apr 21, 2016
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    Well,..... fortunately MED schools don't check criminal background records yet........but you're still going to have to graduate high school....and know the meaning of the acronym SAT.