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Health & Science

Ohio State Doctors Working to Bring More Black Males Into Medicine

photo of Darrell Gray, Joshua Johnson
Drs. Darrell Gray (left) and Joshua Johnson from Ohio State University spoke about the importance of bringing Black men into medicine during the annual Black Male Conference in Akron.

Doctors from Ohio State University are working to bring more black men into the medical field, which they say will also lead to better outcomes for patients in underserved communities.

At the University of Akron’s annual Black Male Summit, Drs. Joshua Joseph and Darrell Gray presented data showing that medical school admissions for black men have essentially remained flat since the 1970s.

Joseph is a professor at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, and says more African-American -- and also Hispanic -- doctors are needed since they’re more likely to practice in their own communities.

“Why do we need this in Ohio? Because we have many underserved areas -- both urban and rural -- throughout our state. And when you look at the health outcomes in those areas, it is one of the primary drivers leading us to be the 43rd state for health.”

Joesph adds that in the past decade, Ohio State has doubled the number of underrepresented minority medical students following revisions of admissions policies as well as implicit bias testing and training for admissions counselors.

Gray says the issue is tied to a number of societal and educational factors. But they’re working to combat that with programs such as one partnership with the Columbus City Schools.

“This is actually when you go into a pipeline of schools from elementary to high school and you have a physician who is in the classroom -- a veterinarian, a nurse, a pharmacist, physical therapist – who are in the classroom helping the teacher to deliver the curriculum.  And this is not about trying to make sure everybody in the school becomes a healthcare professional, but how can they become a productive citizen.”

The doctors have also created a hashtag to highlight male African-American doctors, at #BlackMenInMedicine.