Recruiting More Minority Students To Medical Careers

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The national not-for-profit group Mentoring in Medicine on Saturday hosted a conference in Harlem, N.Y., aimed at encouraging minority students to pursue careers in medicine, the AP/Staten Island Advance reports. According to a 2006 American Medical Association survey, less than 4% of the nation's more than 920,000 doctors are black, while 5% are Hispanic and 12% are Asian.

A 2004 American Nurses Association found that 5% of nurses were black, 3% were Asian and 2% were Hispanic of any race. Blacks make up 12% of the U.S. population, while Hispanics represent 15% and Asians make up 4% of the population, according to 2006 U.S. Census Bureau data.

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The conference seeks to boost the number of minority health care professionals in an effort to address racial disparities in health care. Roughly 1,300 students ranging from third-grade to professional school students were expected to attend the conference.

Lynne Holden, co-founder of the group who also works in Montefiore Medical Center emergency department in the Bronx, said many minority students are not exposed to the full range of available medical careers, which includes 80 health-related professions, nor are they academically prepared. The Mentoring in Medicine program provides students with career guidance, scholarship and internship help, and also promotes healthy living.

Holden said, while medical schools seek to have diverse student populations, "every year, that task becomes increasingly difficult because of the relatively small number of academically well-prepared minority students who apply." She added, "This pipeline issue must be addressed if we are to attain the racial and ethnic diversity necessary in the next generation of doctors" (Franklin, AP/Staten Island Advance, 11/21).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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