Today, the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) and the National Medical Association (NMA) announced a joint effort to convene an Action Collaborative that will address the lack of representation of African American men in medicine. This effort follows a 2015 AAMC report, Altering the Course: Black Males in Medicine, that brought attention to this national crisis. Since 2014, there has been only a slight increase in the enrollment of Black men in medical school, from 2.4% during 2014-2015 to 2.9% in the 2019-2020 academic year. Medical schools and health and education organizations have increased their focus on addressing this issue. However, the AAMC and NMA recognize that there is a need for greater collaboration and action across systems and communities to accelerate change.
Informed by the 2015 report findings, higher education research, data, and other published work, including a National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine report, the Action Collaborative will be comprised of subject matter experts across disciplines who will develop an action agenda. The AAMC and NMA will then engage a broader range of partners in K-12, higher education, academic medicine, community-based organizations, professional organizations and societies, and other key stakeholders to work together to further refine the action agenda, and plan for the implementation and evaluation of systems solutions. This effort aligns with the AAMC’s ongoing work to increase equity, diversity and inclusion, and NMA’s commitment to improving the quality of health for African Americans and communities of color.
“The academic medicine community must take even more aggressive steps to attract and engage talent from all segments of our society to address public health needs. We are dealing with historically entrenched systems of exclusion and oppression for racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. Systemic changes are necessary to make a lasting change in the representation of Black men in medicine, and this will require us to build a coalition of voices and collaborators across multiple communities,” said AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD.
These sentiments were echoed by incoming NMA President Leon McDougle MD, MPH. “The overachievement of Black males in becoming 70% of the National Football League and 80% of the National Basketball Association does not offset the underachievement in higher education and the low number of Black males who become physicians and scientists. The root cause is systemic racism dating back to chattel slavery. This is a societal issue that will require cross-sector investment and collaboration to remedy.”
Programs focused on supporting students who are underrepresented in health professions, such as the Health Careers Opportunity Program, and the Summer Health Professions Education Program, are critical, and the Action Collaborative will complement this work by focusing on how systems can change to reduce barriers and create more opportunity, including broadening the access for care to African Americans by African American providers.
“Studies demonstrate that African Americans can have better outcomes when treated by Black doctors. Collaboratives such as this will have a direct positive effect on the health outcomes of the African American community. The NMA applauds this collaboration and will work closely with the AAMC to ensure its success and sustainability,” said outgoing NMA president Oliver T. Brooks, MD.
To download Altering the Course: Black Males in Medicine, visit www.aamc.org/blackmalesinmed.
To stay informed about the Action Collaborative’s work, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through medical education, patient care, medical research, and community collaborations. Its members are all 155 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; more than 400 teaching hospitals and health systems, including Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 70 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their more than 179,000 full-time faculty members, 92,000 medical students, 140,000 resident physicians, and 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences. Additional information about the AAMC is available at aamc.org.
The National Medical Association (NMA) is the collective voice of African American physicians and the leading force for parity and justice in medicine. The NMA is the oldest organization of African American professionals in America representing African American physicians and the patients they serve in the United States and its territories. For more information about the NMA, visit www.nmanet.org.