Reviews

5
1 vote

I am a white scientist who has taught anatomy at Howard University College of Medicine (HUCM) for the last 39 years. Having grown up during the civil right years of the 1960s when many doors of opportunity were opened up to the black community including access to white medical schools, I have found it amazing that the percentage of physicians who are African-American continues to remain stagnant for the last 60+ years. Statistically speaking, the American Medical Establishment appears to be still living in the Jim Crow Era. Thus, it is totally unacceptable that only 5% percent of physicians in the USA are black when blacks comprise 13% of the population of the United States. For a million-plus different reasons (many of which were discussed in Black Men in Black Coats), this mismatch is unacceptable; the representation of blacks in medicine and the general population must match. Justification for achieving this goal is a no brainer in that every community must be served by its own healthcare professionals in order to achieve and maintain physical, psychological, financial and spiritual health.

The question is, ‘Why aren’t significantly more Blacks entering into and graduating from medical schools each and every year since the Civil Rights Act of 1964?’

Historically speaking, the American Medical Establishment evolved from a society that was domination by white men of European descent because in America they had the means, education, traditions, exposure, encouragement, role models, and opportunities (paths) to be successful in the biomedical sciences. And as older, successful doctors began to identify and train the next generation to become effective and successful doctors, they created a profession in their own image just ducks give birth to ducks and elephants give birth to elephants. Ask any successful physician what criteria must be met to be professionally effective and successful, and physicians will describe themselves and collogues regardless of their race, ethnicity or sex. It is impossible to do otherwise because one can’t describe what one has not experienced. In other words, men use themselves as the best models to design a career path to professional success. Thus, the system is rigged to recognize, accept and promote those who share the same roots as those at the top, that is, a background of socioeconomic privilege which are found primarily in white and a few black communities.

It is untenable that the black race is underrepresented in the health profession because few blacks were born with the ‘right stuff’. Genetic diversity guarantees that every racial /ethnic group gives birth to enough babies with the ‘right stuff’ to be trained and thus serve their community as competent physicians. Thus, is the current model for identifying and training today’s doctors the best and/or only model to produce competent physicians of different racial/ethnic backgrounds? For sure, the Hopkins/Harvard model of medical education has been very successful in training individuals who have been groomed from an early age to become physicians (and other professionals) by growing up in an educationally rich environment. However, the vast majority of children in the world have not been nurtured by these advantages.

Why aren’t there more Black Men In White Coats? One answer is that many black men don’t satisfy the Harvard/Hopkin’s Pedigree. A more provocative answer is: Racism. But this answer provides no enlightenment, no liberation, no solutions. It is a loaded word that ends the dialogue, and thus, becomes a formula for maintaining the status quo.

Without question, the objective of racism starting in 1619 was to keep the negro man in the fields picking cotton and in the big house serving his master. For sure, few doors of racism were ever opened by others. How can anyone break the chains of another? No, what refutes the tenets of racism is the undeniable preeminence of the black spirit and imagination that allowed the negro to excel in sports, music, dance, poetry, religion, literature, politics, military, and any endeavor to which they focused their will. In many cases, Blacks became successful not by emulating the white model but by finding their own path. This begs the questions: What would the medical profession look like if it were a reflection of the African-American experience and spirit? How would the biomedical sciences be transformed if the African-American Community became as excited about the health sciences as it is about other fields, that are currently dominated by blacks?

So, the question becomes: What does the experiences of the four medical schools at HBCUs offer the world in terms of training health professionals. For instance, HUCM has been very successful in providing the nation with well-trained black physicians since 1868. Many Howard-trained doctors came from disadvantage backgrounds and were not qualified to enter other traditional white medical schools because they lacked the Hopkins/Harvard pedigree. Never-the-less, more medical students in the world look like the Howard student than they resemble the Hopkin’s/Harvard elite student in terms of their preparation for success in the current model of medical education. Thus, HUCM and other HBCUs have an important role, if not responsibility, in shaping how medicine is promoted and developed throughout the world. To play this role:
The first objective of Black Men in White Coats is learning to play the game at the same standard as defined by the current medical establishment.
The second objective is to achieve a critical mass of practitioners so that the collective unconscious of the black community is excited to the same degree by the possibilities of medicine as it is by jazz, basketball, preaching, etc.
The third objective is to take ownership of the profession and put a unique stamp on how the next generation of black doctors are identified and trained to be competent, compassionate and responsible health professionals.
The forth objective is put the black experience in medicine in a ‘can’ and export it throughout the world.

5
1 vote

This was an awesome documentary and I pray that more people of our color will watch and encourage their your men to become medical doctors. In our community sports has always been pushed (guilty as well) but I always told my children that academics is first. Now that I’ve seen this I will be talking to my son and hopefully can get him to watch and maybe his mindset will change and become a Black Man in a White Coat.
Shane Battier said something so profound, do your best at it all. When he studied there was no interference and when he played no interference. That was some discipline.

5
1 vote

This was an awesome documentary and I pray that more people of our color will watch and encourage their your men to become medical doctors. In our community sports has always been pushed (guilty as well) but I always told my children that academics is first. Now that I’ve seen this I will be talking to my son and hopefully can get him to watch and maybe his mindset will change and become a Black Man in a White Coat.
Shane Battier said something so profound, do your best at it all. When he studied there was no interference and when he played no interference. That was some discipline.

5
1 vote

This is an amazing documentary looking at the state of Black men in Medicine now and how we got to this point. The biggest theme throughout the documentary is "You can't be what you can't see". We all play a role in the recruitment of URM students to medicine -- let's all step up and try to encourage our youth -- inspire our youth!

5
1 vote

This was such an excellent documentary. It gave me the much-needed motivation to continue pursuing a career in medicine and doing the necessary work to help get more brothers in medicine.

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