Why increasing black men in medicine is essential

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and National Medical Association The NMA recently announced a joint effort to hold a conference Collaborative Action of Black Men in Medicine In an effort to address the underrepresentation of African American men in medicine. This effort follows a 2015 AAMC report, Course Modification: Black Males in Medicinewho drew attention to this national crisis, noting that there were more black men applying to and attending medical schools in 1978 than in 2014. Since 2014, there has been only a small increase in the enrollment of black men in medical school, from 2.4 % during the 2014-2015 school year to nearly 3% in 2021-2022. African American men account for just 3% of doctors.

Recently, medical schools, as well as health and educational organizations, have increased their efforts to address this important issue. Why is it important, you may ask? In addition to promoting equality and opportunity for African American men, research shows that individuals are more likely to go to the doctor and be honest with their doctor about their health concerns if their doctor is of the same race, and to a lesser extent, gender. According to 2020 Article In the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by four researchers in University of Pennsylvania African American patients have a better experience when their physician is of the same race. Moreover, according to the year 2022 Gallop In a poll, 53% of African Americans find it difficult to locate a physician of the same race.

Access to high-quality, culturally sensitive health care is essential for African Americans personally, and vital to the pursuit of equity as a nation. African Americans have higher rates of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease than African American men “It has the lowest life expectancy of any population, living an average of 4.5 years fewer than white men.” many of Factors They contribute to the health disparities that African Americans face, but these disparities are exacerbated by the lack of available African American physicians in the United States.

The AAMC and NMA recognize that there is a need to focus on systemic change and increase collaboration across the education pipeline to address the persistent barriers that black men face. Thus, collaborative work consists of experts from myriad disciplines who have identified medical, academic medicine, and sociocultural factors at the root of the problem. After two years of planning, Action Collaborative is now moving into its next phase, which requires engaging a broader group of partners in K-12, higher education, academic medicine, professional organizations, community organizations, and other key stakeholders to work together to revise the National Action Agenda, and plan for implementation. and evaluate solutions at the system level.

To achieve this goal, the Cooperative Action Organization held a strategic summit during which they developed a plan for the next three years. Summit participants included representatives from K-12 education, foundations, health care companies, national scientific and health professional organizations, federal government agencies, current medical school students, and medical school faculty and administrators.

During the summit, participants identified factors across three areas that influence the pipeline and trajectory of black boys and men interested in medicine—premedical medicine, academic medicine, and sociocultural factors. According to leaders at Action Collaborative, “Pre-medical factors include the quality of public education, funding, counseling, and access to support systems. Factors related to academic medicine include pre-med programs, recruitment and admissions, and leadership accountability for diversity. All of these factors are embedded in institutional and societal structures and sociocultural environments shaped by systemic racism, negative narratives about black men, and institutional cultures and climates that do not include black men.”

As a follow-up to the Summit, the Cooperative Action Organization will: engage in stakeholder hearings to seek feedback on the work agenda; on board more individuals, organizations and institutions who will join the AC Coalition and act as collaborators to develop, invest in and implement the Action Agenda; Implementation and monitoring of progress of the work agenda. The hope, according to the Collaborative Action Partners, is that a systemic approach to the problem will lead to systemic and long-term change in the representation of, and in the experiences of, African American physicians, while providing equality and culturally relevant care to the black population at large.

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