PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A student organization at Jefferson University aims to increase the number of Black doctors.
Dressing for success, these second-year medical students from Sidney Kimmel Medical College in Jefferson are members of the Black Men in White Coats.
“With the intention of trying to increase the number of black men going into the field of medicine,” medical student Kevin Carolina said. “It’s a very difficult journey, and it’s a journey that requires a lot of help.”
Inspired by her own experience, Carolina is a founding member of the group.
“I see the impact of lack of diversity on the health of people who look like me,” he said.
Black people have high rates of illness, health complications and death, according to the CDC. This is partly blamed on a historical lack of trust in white doctors and the inability to find medical professionals of the same race.
The Association of American Medical Colleges has said diversity in medicine is improving, but only 5% of doctors are black.
“Although our numbers are low in medicine, we are working to improve and increase them as well,” said medical student Nathan Delacth.
Delacth is also a member of the Black Men in White Coats.
“When I was younger, I never had role models who looked like me,” he said.
Trained in a simulation lab, these future black doctors support each other and hope to inspire more to be like them.
“We hope to make change within the school itself, also attracting more black students to the school, but also creating change within the community,” Delacth said.
They go into underserved communities with things like screening checks. The group also works to improve access to better health care for black neighbors.
“Ultimately, we want to elevate Black voices,” Delacth said.
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