The University of Colorado School of Medicine, in
partnership with PreMed StAR, has produced three videos that present the
perspective of three African-American members of our academic community.
The videos showcase life on the Anschutz Medical Campus
and here in metro Denver from the point of view of medical student Bailey Loving and faculty members Vaughn Browne, MD, PhD, associate professor of
emergency medicine, and Amira del Pino-Jones, MD, assistant professor of
The videos are part of a series that was originally
called “Black Men in White Coats” that aimed to address the decline in the
number of African American men who are considering careers in medicine. In CU’s
case, the concept is being expanded to “Black Men and Women in White Coats” by
including a young African American woman on the faculty.
African Americans and women are underrepresented in
the medical profession, according to a study published in October 2015 in JAMA
In that article, “Diversity in Graduate Medical Education in
the United States by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex, 2012,” researchers reported: There were 688,468
practicing physicians; 30.1 percent were female and 9.2 percent were of underrepresented
minority groups in medicine, including 5.2 percent who were Hispanic and 3.8
percent who were black.
At the same time, efforts to recruit students of diverse backgrounds,
particularly black men, were falling short.
According to the report “Altering
the Course: Black Males in Medicine,” published in 2015 by the Association
of American Medical Colleges, the number of black men applying and going to
medical school has declined during the past 40 years.
According to the AAMC report, there were 1,410 black male
applicants to medical school in 1978, and in 2014, there were just 1,337. The
number of black male matriculants to medical school over more than 35 years has
also not surpassed the 1978 numbers. In 1978, there were 542 black male
matriculants, and in 2014, there were 515.
Dale Okorodudu, MD, now a practicing Pulmonary and
Critical Care Physician founded Black Men in White Coats during his years as a
resident physician at Duke University Medical Center. He states, “The work we do is meant to inspire,
mentor, and provide opportunities for future doctors. Specifically, the Black Men in White Coats
campaign strategically addresses the black male shortage among U.S.
physicians. If this problem is not
curbed, our country may face serious health and economic consequences that will
affect entire population. These videos
are a part of our effort to show young black men and women a different path in
life, one many of them have never considered.”
Our goal is to increase ethnic and socioeconomic diversity
within the field of medicine,” Okorodudu said. “For black men in particular,
our aim is to show compelling stories of individuals they can identify with,
and in doing so, demonstrate that there is no reason they can’t become physicians
Shanta Zimmer, MD, associate dean for diversity and
inclusion and interim senior associate dean for education, said diversity is a
priority for the School of Medicine and an important contributor to excellence
across all aspects of the profession.
“These videos help us understand the obstacles and
opportunities of the medical profession from the points of view of our peers on
campus while celebrating the contributions of these members of our community,”
Zimmer said. “Compassion and understanding are important traits of our
profession and the inspiring individual stories shown in the videos of Bailey,
Vaughn and Amira remind us that mentorship and role modeling are key to our