Campaign aims to get more black students into medical professions
Posted April 21
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.