Home Health & Education Meharry Medical College hosts summit for young Black men 
to explore health care professions

Meharry Medical College hosts summit for young Black men 
to explore health care professions

by PRIDE Newsdesk
Black Americans comprise around 12% of the U.S population, but only 2.9% of physicians are Black men. Immediate action is required for medical colleges to advance the mission of diversifying the health care professional landscape.

Young Black men interested in pursuing professions in health care will spend a day immersed in the field at ‘Navigating the Pre-health Path: A Summit for Young Black Men’ hosted by Meharry Medical College on October 1.

The summit seeks to help increase the pipeline for Black male doctors in the U.S. by exposing young men in middle school through college to opportunities throughout health care. Attendees will learn from leaders in the field, as well as faculty, administrators and students in medicine, dentistry and nursing.

“Black men make up a very small portion of the medical profession due to qualification barriers, race classification and the lack of diversity shown in health care today,” James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D., M.D., president/CEO of Meharry Medical College, said. “It’s essential that we continue to address the need for more Black men in medicine to increase the important health care communication with minority patients and research topics relevant to the health of Black communities, which ultimately will lead to better health outcomes. We are proud to host this summit on our campus to break down the barriers Black men face while navigating the medical landscape.”

Over the years, the number of Black men in medicine has declined substantially. According to recent studies, Black men make up less than three percent of medical school enrollees due to a multitude of barriers. Even though there are more Black men graduating from college, most are not studying disciplines that traditionally lead to medical professions.

Meharry is teaming with Vanderbilt University, the BRIDGE to Success, the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance and the Urban League of Middle Tennessee to host the summit. It is aimed at students ranging from middle school to undergraduate Black males interested in a career in health, science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Attendees will take part in a fireside chat with Hildreth and Dr. André Churchwell, M.D., chief diversity officer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and senior associate dean for the diversity affairs at Vanderbilt School of Medicine, as well as a student panel discussion and a resource panel discussion. The summit includes lunch with student researchers, scientists and doctors; a resume writing session; and an interview workshop.

“Sustained efforts need to be made to increase the number of Black men in medicine,” Churchwell said. “We are suffering from continued challenges that Black men face up and down their educational journey. The summit brings the opportunity for collaboration and joint efforts between medical schools to diversify specialties in medicine.”

Meharry aims to provide the same level of mentorship and opportunity for young women as it does for men. The college hosts ‘Girls Powered by S.T.E.A.M.’ where middle-school-aged girls are surrounded by experts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to spark their interest and encourage them to pursue careers in the STEM fields.

The summit will take place October 1 from 8:30 am to 1 pm in the S.S. Kresge Learning Resource Center on Meharry’s campus, 2001 Albion Street. All young Black men interested in a health profession are welcome.

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