The Tour for Diversity in Medicine will travel the Northeast corridor to introduce medicine and dentistry as a field of advanced study and career path to minority students from September 23-28, 2013. Along with Tour partner the Aetna Foundation, more than 15 doctors, dentists and medical school students from across the country will participate in the program, which will provide full-day, hands-on workshops to undergrad students in six states. For the first time, the Tour will also engage with high school students, in addition to college undergraduates, during the Tour’s final stop in Washington, D.C.
The Tour will travel 400 miles over six days making six different stops at locations including two historically black colleges and universities. The participating medical professionals will hold conversations with hundreds of potential medical and dental professionals over the course of the week. The Tour for Diversity in Medicine’s mission is to help diversify the health care profession by giving minority students the advice and tools they will need to pursue medical careers.
Although African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans compose more than 26 percent of the U.S. population, they represent only six percent of practicing physicians and five percent of dentists, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). In 2011, African-American and Hispanic students made up only 15 percent of all U.S. medical school applicants.
Yet research shows that patients who receive care from doctors of the same background are more satisfied with their care and more engaged in their treatment.
“Our mission is to make a tangible difference in the lives of students and the broader community by offering the vision and real-world strategies to overcome barriers to address the need for greater diversity in the medical profession. Bridging the health-equity gap for under-represented minorities will only happen if our next generation is ready to meet the challenge,” said Alden Landry, M.D., co-founder of the Tour for Diversity in Medicine and an emergency department physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “By reaching students early, even at the high school level, and engaging in face-to-face sessions with professionals who come from similar backgrounds, we hope to empower students to consider a career in medicine early on – and to imagine what’s possible for patients and their communities with a more diverse physician population.”