We Have More Black Doctors…Right?

The recent announcement of Dr. Ben Carson as President-elect Trump’s selection for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, despite it’s controversy, got us thinking: where do Black medical professionals stand within our communities, and what impact does history have the growth of this sector? Putting party politics aside, we wanted to shed light on historical underrepresentation of Black medical professionals in the field

The number of Black medical professionals is alarmingly low – only 5% of practicing physicians are Black. According to a 2015 report issued by the Association of American Medical Colleges Data Warehouse, there are fewer black men applying to medical school now than in 1978.  While twice as many African-American women apply to medical school, there remains a stark shortage of African-American practitioners in the field. The impacts of this have been heavily studied and have far-reaching consequences, grounded in the “general rule that black patients are more likely to feel comfortable with black doctors.” With this barrier, Black individuals may be dissuaded from initially seeking medical advice, from trusting advice when sought, or from proactively taking charge of their health.

While there’s much discussion on client-centered distrust of the medical community, particularly following the Tuskegee syphilis study, Karen Jordan discusses how African American physicians have dealt with distrust and misperceptions for more than a century. Read more here.

Via The Atlantic