Diversity In The Medical Field Is Important

Racial, socioeconomic, and international diversity aren’t just nice things to have within America’s Physician workforce. They can be a difference between life and death.

According to a study from researchers at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health, patients treated by foreign medical graduates had better 30-day survival rates than patients treated by U.S.-educated physicians.

More than 31 percent of the U.S. population is Hispanic, Native American, or African-American. Yet people from these ethnic groups account for just 6 percent of practicing Physicians.

Medical schools lack racial and economic diversity. ewer than 14 percent of students admitted to medical school for the 2017-18 school year were black, Hispanic, or Native American. Also about three in four medical students come from the richest 40 percent of families and only one in twenty come from the poorest 20 percent of families.

Patients usually choose Doctors they’re more comfortable with, someone who looks like them, may have shared similar experiences, or speaks the same language. Two in five Hispanic patients consider whether a Doctor can speak Spanish before choosing to visit. According to a Department of Veterans Affairs study, African American patients report higher satisfaction ratings when treated by African American Doctors.

America’s immigrant population continues to grow. The number of foreign-born U.S. residents has more than doubled, to roughly 42 million since 1990. This growth in population corresponds with the nation's Doctor shortage. The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts a shortage of about 105,000 Doctors by 2030. Doctors trained abroad will play a huge role in combating that shortage.

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