Tour for Diversity in Medicine

#T4DPacNW Day 1: Calling all Men!

As a Dominican-American male surgeon-scientist in training it was an amazing experience to play a critical role in the development and the diversification of the healthcare workforce. Our mentors, physicians, surgeons, dentists, and podiatrists served as workshop presenters and panelist throughout the day at Portland State University. The students were engaging and their questions demonstrated a sincere curiosity for a career as a healthcare professional. It was motivating and also demonstrated a disparity that exist within our profession. There was a small presence of male students attending the event. There have been recent articles demonstrating the lack of underrepresented minority males in medicine and the conference participants reinforced the trend. Throughout the meeting I spoke with the male participants and their reasons for attending. Most stated they were there because a friend “told them they need to go” and one even stated his sister was the only reason he was there. She informed him of the event and assisted with the process. Encouraging male students to participate and engage in events is a challenge, and it’s important to realize it is a hurdle that will take all of us. Similar to our male patients that are pushed into our offices and clinics by their wife or significant others, women continue to encourage us to play active roles in career planning. Addressing the disparity will take an effort on many fronts. We have reached a point of crisis and we have made it a personal mission to speak to any and every male student we see walk by to attend our event. We ask them to invite their friends as one may never know the impact a 5 minute conversation can have. I walked away¬† invigorated with a challenge to embrace towards the mission of T4D!

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