Opinion: Medical schools should make and stick to goal of educating 20,000 African American doctors by 2020
by One Nation News Editorial Board
One of the concerns with Health Care Reform is that waits in emergency rooms will increase because traditional users of the ER are not the uninsured, according to an AP report, but Medicaid users. Projections are that 16 million more people will be enrolled in Medicaid when Health Care Reform is fully operational.
The bottleneck, observers say, is that there is a shortage of ER doctors that will be exacerbated by increase patient loads.
For many years we've advocated that medical schools knock off the elitist scam they've perpetrated for years. There are far more than enough highly intelligent African American young people who could be physicians but are priced out/steered away from/ignored by the medical school industry and the American educational system.
An anecdote: A well-known chiropractic college founder brought back the curriculum for teaching chiropractic early in the 20th century and that curriculum lasted all of 6 months in his honest opinion. What did he do? He stretched it out to four years so he could create a college and charge four years worth of tuition.
That is the medical school industry paradigm in a nutshell. But when does its role as gatekeeper start treading on the common good? The medical school industry has already reached out to white women. The ranks of white, female medical students all across America has spiked. At the University of Minnesota, for example, white women outnumber men. So, the industry can and has sought out specific demographics in filling its educational slots. But, in the case of actively seeking out qualified African American medical students, it has fallen far short.
Two years ago, the American Medical Association issued a formal apology to African American physicians for its history of racial discrimination. That history of discrimination was so blatant that African Americans had to form their own medical association, the National Medical Association, because of the racism of existing groups such as the AMA.
Disparity in health outcomes can be traced to inferior care in the African American community and that inferior care can be further traced to the paucity of African American physicians. Only three to four percent of all doctors in the U.S. are African American, despite the group comprising nearly 14% of the population.
A good starting point would be for the medical school industry to make a goal of educating 20,000 African American physicians in the next decade -- 2,000 a year -- and sticking to it.
That would create a sea change not just in health outcomes, but in the economic condition of the African American community.