African Americans make up 13% of the country’s population, but only 4% of American physicians are black. This lack of racial diversity in the profession is tragic, denying this prestigious career to many worthy people and undermining the health of many African Americans, who are more likely to receive important medical services when they’re cared for by black physicians.
There is a slew of reasons for this dramatic underrepresentation of African Americans in the physician population. From preschool through college, Americans climb up a ladder whose rungs are constructed very differently for different people. Even medical school contributes to this problem, with the prohibitive cost of such an education discouraging many lower-income aspirants from pursuing a medical education. Medical schools have begun to address this last problem by offering need-based scholarships. But there is still another rung missing from this metaphorical ladder: it’s hard to receive medical school scholarships if you can’t afford to apply to medical school.
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