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Impact and not optics: How we can increase the number of African Americans in medicine | The St. Louis American

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Impact and not optics: How we can increase the number of African Americans in medicine | The St. Louis American

Kenneth Poole Jr, Historically Black College and Universities, HBCU, Black Colleges, Black Universities, Black Education, African American Education, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN, KINDR'D Magazine, KINDR'D, Willoughby Avenue, WRIIT,

I am the lead author of a peer-reviewed manuscript that details how U.S. medical school diversity initiatives are leaving us behind. This is a summary of the article, which was published in Academic Medicine, and a call to action to improve our representation and the health of our communities.

U.S. medical education diversity initiatives were born out of the Civil Rights Movement in an effort to increase the representation of African Americans in the physician workforce. Over the last 50 years, these efforts have evolved to include other minority groups that are underrepresented in medicine, and efforts to specifically identify and recruit African-American students have become obscured. African Americans thus remain significantly underrepresented in medicine, accounting for just 6 percent of graduates from U.S. medical schools and 3 percent of U.S. medical school full-time faculty.


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