J Natl Med Assoc. 2023 Apr;115(2):147-156. doi: 10.1016/j.jnma.2023.01.002. Epub 2023 Jan 28.
The number of black male applicants to US medical schools has remained stagnant over the last 30 years. The etiology behind the lack of applicants is multifaceted and involves greater systemic barriers, specifically, educational and social barriers. The lack of representation of black males in medicine also has downstream implications for the health of the African American/black community. African Americans exhibit some of the lowest levels of trust in the healthcare system, have less access to care than their non-minority peers, and have, comparatively, poorer healthcare outcomes than other populations in the US. Research has demonstrated that patient-provider race concordance improves communication, outcomes, culturally competent care, and satisfaction with care. The greater the gap between these two populations, the harder it becomes to improve healthcare outcomes, maintain a medically ready fighting force in the US military, and improve trust in the healthcare system. This article provides an analysis of the multifactorial barriers black male applicants face applying, matriculating, and graduating medical school and how decreased representation may affect healthcare delivery. Furthermore, this review explores next steps and potential implementations at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences to address the above deficiencies.