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Altering the Course: Black Males in Medicine

Year Published: 2015
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Altering the Course: Black Males in Medicine

This report helps academic medical leaders rethink and renew existing initiatives, including reviewing and updating admissions policies and practices, thinking creatively about formal and informal efforts to engage black men and their communities, conducting community outreach, and more.

Altering the Course: Black Males in Medicine
Year Published: 2015
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Designed for academic medical leaders.


This report captures the major themes raised in interviews with 11 black premedical students, physicians, researchers, and leaders about the decline in the number of black males applying for and matriculating to medical school. The interviews explored factors that may contribute to low application rates and the role of academic medicine in altering the course. It highlights research and data from various sources to understand these trends and to find solutions to alter the trends for black men. Interviewees discussed: 

  • Personal and external factors that contribute to success in becoming a physician.
  • Factors in early public education that may adversely affect young black boys.
  • The role of community members in having either positive or negative influence on career exploration and decisions.
  • Public perceptions and images of black men, including negative media portrayals and lower expectations, that may adversely influence their educational and career progress.
  • Four major areas in which academic medicine may influence current trends for black males.

With the predicted physician shortage of between 46,000 and 90,000 physicians by the year 2025, and the changing demographics of the patient population, providing greater access to care for a more diverse population is even more critical. While many initiatives and programs supported by foundations, medical schools, and government have contributed to increasing diversity in the physician pipeline, one major demographic group has reversed its progress in applying to medical school: black males.



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Number of Pages: 49 Year Published: 2015