Multicultural News

Black Men in White Coats holding youth summit, aims to diversify medical field

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Black doctors around the country are doing their part to inspire the next round of physicians. For the first time, bringing the Black Men in White Coats Youth Summit to Indianapolis.

Data shows that fewer Black men are graduating from medical school today than they were 40 years ago. Experts say an important part of changing that data, is showing young people real life examples and explaining where you are now doesn’t dictate your future.

Black men make up less than 5% of all physicians. And the statistics aren’t getting better.

“That’s why this Black men and white coats initiative is so important. It’s really just about helping people understand that hey, this is a possibility. And it’s important that you consider it,” said News 8’s Medical expert and former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams.

He and countless other physicians of color say it doesn’t have to be that way. Adding that patients cared for by someone who looks like them tend to have better trust and better health outcomes.

“Studies consistently show that there are terrible disparities…When it comes to cancer, when it comes to cardiovascular disease rates. Even when it comes to opioid overdoses,” Adams said.

Organizers founded Black Men in White Coats in 2013 in response to a decrease in black men applying to medical school. In that time the Black Men in White Coats summit has made stops in cities around the country. Indianapolis is this weekend.

“If they would like to be a physician, they can be a physician. And there’s no reason to think that they cannot,” said Dr. Anthony Sanders with Community Health Network. “And it doesn’t necessarily matter where they are right now.”

With support from the Community Health Networks, Saturday, young people will spend the day immersed in mentorship, hands on activities, networking. All with the hope of showing them,
a career as a physician is very much possible.

“I hope they take away that they are not limited by any circumstance. I hope they take away that they can be more than what people put on them,” Sanders said.

Adams said if you do take off on this journey, don’t be afraid to ask for help, know your mentors don’t have to look like you, and believe it’ possible.

You still have time to register your child.