News & Stories

Barriers Block Entry to Medical Professions for Black and Latinx Students

What are the real-life consequences when patients have the option of being treated by health professionals who look like them? 

“Research shows patients are more likely to utilize preventive care services and report care satisfaction when treated by health professionals who share their racial or ethnic background,” a Crain’s Cleveland Business/Crain’s Content Studio article reports. 

For those reasons, Latina Brooks, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, told Crain’s, “we know that having a more diverse workforce would have a positive impact on many of the health care disparities we are seeing along racial lines.”

The multiple barriers to Black and Latinx students pursuing medical professions include the low number of educators mirroring their backgrounds and the high expense of the education, the article explains. (While need-based federal grants are available to undergraduates, that source dries up at the post-baccalaureate level.)

You can do this

Yet Jim Barrett, senior executive director for strategic enrollment initiatives for Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown, told the interviewer, “What I hear a lot among our underrepresented graduates is that somebody ‘told me I could do this.’ I think that speaks to the importance of mentorship and having physician leaders and educators who will invest the time to support and develop candidates who don’t necessarily have those support networks baked in.”

And at NEOMED, a more holistic approach to evaluating academic performance with test results (namely, the MCAT) has meant that underrepresented student admissions could double this fall from the usual rate of 8% of NEOMED’s student body. 

Read “Awareness, other obstacles keep minorities out of health professions” at Crain’s Content Studio-Cleveland.