To many in the medical profession, it’s a public health crisis in the making: While African-Americans make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, only about 6 percent of doctors are black. And evidence shows that patients feel better about the quality of their health care when their doctors look like them.
To address this workforce issue, a group of young doctors, dentists, and other health care professionals started a traveling program called Tour for Diversity that goes all over the U.S. to meet with young people of color who are interested in health career paths. STAT talked to some of the leaders of Tour for Diversity at a recent stop in Winston-Salem, N.C., about some of the challenges they have faced in achieving their goals of becoming doctors and dentists. Here’s what they had to say.
On treating people of color
Dr. Ciera Sears, an internal medicine resident physician in Dayton, Ohio, talks about what it’s like when patients of color see her for the first time and how she establishes a relationship with them.
On overcoming racism
Dr. Love Anani, an emergency physician in Nashville, Tenn., discusses the pain of racism and feelings of inadequacy.
On using ethnicity as a strength
Dr. Italo Brown, an emergency medicine resident physician from New York City, recounts his experience treating a young, African-American man with gunshot wounds in the emergency room.
On being natural
Shayla Wilson, a dental student at Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry in Nashville, Tenn., talks about the debates surrounding her dreadlocks when she was applying for dental school.
On being a ‘real doctor’
Dr. Brandon Henry, a sports medicine fellow in Waco, Texas, recalls when patients dismissed him, saying they want a “real doctor.”
On having a role model
Dr. Kameron Leigh Matthews, a family physician in Washington, D.C., talks about having a role model in her father, a physician who treated people in their community.