Addressing the Challenge of Health Disparities: Role of Educational Institutions — Allison Young

Allison Young

Racial bias in the healthcare industry has always been prevalent, but the issue has been brought to light with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. I have authored a 3-part series of article where I discuss various methods and efforts that can be undertaken to bridge the racial gap facing Healthcare in America. Today’s perspective builds on part 1, which highlights some of the key challenges faced by people of color in the healthcare industry, and part 2, which discusses the method used by the National Football League for developing world class athletes.

Near Term Considerations:

All educational institutions have the potential to breed and support competent students from differing backgrounds and ethnicities by enforcing some changes. Of course, the NFL model discussed in part 2 will require a number of years to yield results. The critical question remains: How can we quickly increase the number of African American physicians and earn the trust of a community weary of poor treatment?

Across the nation there are over 100 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). These schools are a rich talent pool of young men and women who could readily train as physicians. Their approach to teaching the STEM courses is a significant contrast to the method used by majority white colleges. Rather than finding ways to eliminate students — they provide the positive support and guidance to encourage all with the interest and aptitude to study the sciences to succeed.

The HBCUs often struggle for resources and are worth the investment to support an increased number of young scientists. Moreover, the students would also benefit from the supplemental supports needed to successfully complete Biology, Calculus, Organic Chemistry and Physics. In addition, several HBCUs could be partnered with Medical Schools to support the development of the “intangibles” sought by medical school admissions officers. For example, Southern University is in the process of developing a relationship with UCLA Medical Center. It is anticipated that this relationship will resolve in increased opportunities for Southern students at this great institution.

Finally, our short and long term approaches for increasing the number of African American physicians will only succeed if residencies and internships are made available to accept this population of candidates.

Allison Young is a Board Director and former CEO with strategic acumen and excellent leadership skills who specializes in the healthcare industry. She is a results-oriented executive who utilizes a creative approach as a problem solver, developing innovative solutions to overcome challenges. She also has a strong background as an IT expert, having used her creative approach to improve methodologies and support clients in unique ways. Her diverse background has enabled her to become a dynamic leader today, and she is seeking new opportunities to serve on corporate boards to engage in strategy development focused on leadership and her other expertise.

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