Hispanics and Blacks make up 31 percent of New York State's population but only 13 percent of medical school applicants are Hispanic or Black. The numbers are raising concerns, says Jo Wiederhorn, President and CEO of the Associated Medical Schools of New York. "If a physician is of the same race or ethnicity as his or her patient, health outcomes improve," said Wiederhorn in citing several studies on the subject.
"In 1974, there were more Black male applications and more Black men in medical school than there were in 2017," said Wiederhorn.
"We really need some kind of programs that target Black men to ensure that they know the possibilities are there for them to become physicians."
A recent study by the Associated Medical Schools of New York highlights a number of the obstacles faced by possible applicants to medical school. Cost certainly sits near the top of the list. In a press statement prepared in advance of the study's release, the authors say "the high cost of applications, travel to interviews, professional attire and more" can add up to $10,000 and beyond.
The study offers suggestions meant to reverse the trend, including more money for scholarships, mentoring groups and application preparatory classes.
Wiederhorn offers her own advice to potential students. "They should not be discouraged." She says students should call their local medical school to speak with "the Dean for Diversity and Inclusion" or other personnel who "can lead them to the right place and they'll be able to get help to get into medical school."