PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A student organization at Jefferson University aims to increase the number of Black doctors.
Dressing for success, these second-year medical students at Jefferson’s Sidney Kimmel Medical College are members of Black Men in White Coats.
“With the intention of trying to increase the number of Black men going into the field of medicine,” medical student Kevin Carolina said. “It’s a very challenging journey, and it’s a journey that does require a lot of assistance.”
Inspired by his own experience, Carolina is a founding member of the group.
“I see the impact the lack of diversity has on health outcomes within people that look like me,” he said.
Black people have high rates of disease, health complications and death, according to the. Part of that is blamed on a historic lack of trust in White doctors and not being able to find medical professionals of the same race.
Thesaid diversity in medicine is improving but still only 5% of doctors are Black.
“Although our numbers are rare within medicine, we’re working to improve that and up those numbers as well,” medical student Nathan Delacth said.
Delacth is also a member of Black Men in White Coats.
“When I was younger, I never had any role models who looked like me,” he said.
Training in a simulation lab, these future Black doctors are supporting each other and hope to inspire more to be like them.
“We’re hoping to enact change within the school itself, bringing more Black students to the school as well but also creating change within the community,” Delacth said.
They go to underserved communities with things like screening checks. The group is also working to improve access to better health care for Black neighbors.
“Ultimately, we want to uplift Black voices,” Delacth said.