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Black Doctors Call On Black Students To Enter Medicine

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 24 Feb 2012 05:25pm | comments
Dr. Matthews Addresses a group of students.

The number of black doctors in Mississippi is vastly disproportionately low, and some say that is harming public health in the state. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that black doctors from around the country and trying to persuade more black students to enter the medical field.

Dr. Kameron Matthews explains to a group of mostly black college students options for paying for an expensive medical degree.

Matthews is one the organizers of the Tour For Diversity in Medicine, which is a group of minority physicians visiting historically black colleges like Jackson State University talking to students about the medical field.

She says that having more black doctors can lead to much better health care outcomes for black patients.

"I think there is that cultural connection. It was also is shown that patients have larger levels of trust in their minority providers. So therefore they communicate with them and they also adhere to the treatment plans when they have that higher level of trust in their provider," Matthews said.

African-Americans make up 37-percent of the state population but account for a little as 3-percent of its doctors.

19-year old Kenita Stokes of Jackson says she joined the pre-med program after seeing the effects of poverty on people around her.

"I really care about people and I want to serve under-served communities. Because I feel that poor people are often left out and often looked over. And they have to suffer because of the things that they lack financial. And I want to change that. I want to help people that are poor improve their health status," Stokes said.

The same is true for 24-year old Joshua Green who is working on his master at University Medical Center.

"I choose the medical field because of the health problems I saw in my own family ranging from diabetes, different cardiovascular problems. I felt I could use the health field to teach my community and give back to my community through medicine," Green said.

Green says it was intimidating to enter the medical field because he didn't know any black physicians.

Dr. Matthews says one of the motivations behind the tour is introducing young African-Americans to black doctors to show them that there is a place for them in medicine.

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Dr. Matthews Addresses a group of students.


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