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J Natl Med Assoc. 2009 Sep;101(9):864-72.

Historically black medical schools: addressing the minority health professional pipeline and the public mission of care for vulnerable populations.

Author information

1
Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, CA 90059, USA. keithnorris@cdrewu.edu

Abstract

Substantial changes in not only access to care, cost, and quality of care, but also health professions education are needed to ensure effective national healthcare reform. Since the actionable determinants of health such as personal beliefs and behaviors, socioeconomic factors, and the environment disproportionately affect the poor (and often racial/ethnic minorities), many have suggested that focusing efforts on this population will both directly and indirectly improve the overall health of the nation. Key to the success of such strategies are the ongoing efforts by historically black medical schools (HBMSs) as well as other minority serving medical and health professional schools, who produce a disproportionate percentage of the high-quality and diverse health professionals that are dedicated to maintaining the health of an increasingly diverse nation. Despite their public mission, HBMSs receive limited public support threatening their ability to not only meet the increasing minority health workforce needs but to even sustain their existing contributions. Substantial changes in health education policy and funding are needed to ensure HBMSs as well as other minority-serving medical and health professional schools can continue to produce the diverse, high-quality health professional workforce necessary to maintain the health of an increasingly diverse nation. We explore several model initiatives including focused partnerships with legislative and business leaders that are urgently needed to ensure the ability of HBMSs to maintain their legacy of providing compassionate, quality care to the communities in greatest need.

PMID:
19806842
PMCID:
PMC3739050
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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