Programs Work To Get More Minorities Into Health Professions

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Newspapers recently covered efforts to boost the number of minorities in health professions. Summaries of the articles appear below.

New York City
About 700 black and Hispanic students on Saturday attended a conference in Harlem, N.Y., that aimed to increase the number of minorities who become doctors and other health care professionals, the New York Times reports. Montefiore Medical Center and Mentoring in Medicine sponsored the event, where Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) gave a keynote address.

In 2004, blacks represented 3.3% of doctors in the U.S., while Hispanics made up 2.8% and Asians represented 5.7%, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Lynne Holden, an emergency department doctor at Montefiore and the executive director of Mentoring in Medicine, said, "Given the fact that the population is almost 25% African-American and Hispanic, it's a gross shortage when you calculate the numbers."

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A lack of financial resources and professional mentors in minority communities might in part explain the low numbers of minority health professionals (Fernandez, New York Times, 12/9).

Springfield, Mass.
The three-year-old Springfield-BayState Educational partnership aims to give supplemental math and science classes, labs and internships to urban and minority teenagers who are interested in medical careers, the AP/Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports.

BayState Health provides lab space, equipment and professionals to teach at Putnam High School, the vocational-technical high school in Springfield. Students take certified nursing assistant examinations in the 11th grade and complete internships at medical facilities in the 12th grade. This year, more than 500 students are expected to have participated in the program, up from 374 last year. So far, BayState has hired 22 students from the program for full-time positions.

Peter Blain, director of the partnership, said, "Nationally, the engagement of industry in education has typically been, 'Let's give the schools some extra money.' That's just not doing it. We need to be invested at a different level, not just with money but with staff, curriculum, design, much, much more" (Eaton-Robb, AP/Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 12/8).

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