On April 27, the AAMC, the National Medical Association (NMA), and Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), founder and chair of the Caucus on the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, jointly hosted a briefing on policies, strategies, and actions to address the scarcity of Black male physicians and Black men and boys on the pathway to becoming physicians. The briefing was joined by Reps. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.).
Panelists included Dwight Reynolds, MD, president and CEO of Centers for Health Promotion; Garfield Clunie, MD, NMA president; K. Torian Easterling, MD, Young Doctors DC co-founder; Russell Ledet, MD, PhD, co-founder of The 15 White Coats; and Kylar Wiltz, a medical student at Howard University College of Medicine. The conversation was moderated by Danielle Turnipseed, JD, MHSA, MPP, chief public policy officer at the AAMC.
The briefing focused on the work of the AAMC and NMA’s jointly sponsored Action Collaborative for Black Men in Medicine and the need to increase opportunities and incentives for Black men to join the medical profession. Panelists discussed the AAMC report, “Altering the Course: Black Males in Medicine,” which noted the number of Black male graduates from medical school has remained relatively stagnant at slightly more than 500 per year between 1978 and 2014. Despite being 13% of the American population, African Americans are only 5% of the physician workforce with Black men comprising just 2.7% of the physician workforce.
Additional discussion points related the historical policies and practices that attributed to the current lack of representation of Black men in medicine, an examination of interventions to accelerate systemic changes, and areas for leadership accountability. The AAMC highlighted its legislative priorities including Graduate Medical Education support through the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2023 [refer to Washington Highlights, March 31], HRSA Title VII programs focused on workforce development and diversity pathways, and also the importance of HBCUs and community college pathways. The Action Collaborative for Black Men in Medicine will host its virtual national meeting on June 6-7.
Last year, the AAMC, the NMA, and the National Minority Quality Forum held a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference session on this same topic entitled, “A Real Emergency: Working to Increase the Representation of Black Men in Medicine” [refer to Washington Highlights, Oct. 7, 2022].