Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012
This Week's News
New school year an opportunity to inspire tomorrow's physicians
Any child can grow up to become a physician. He or she only needs a little inspiration—the kind that means the most coming from a physician or medical student.
That inspiration could come from you, encouraging today's children to grow into tomorrow's physicians. With schools nationwide back in session this month, one way to do that is by visiting a school in your community. And the AMA Doctors Back to School™ (DBTS) program can help.
The DBTS program helps physicians coordinate events at local schools to show children of all ages, especially those from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, that medicine is an attainable career option for everyone. It's an important message to send, because not only is there a physician workforce shortage being predicted, there also are too few minority physicians in the United States.
Nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population is African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, Native Hawaiian or Alaskan Native, yet only about 9 percent of all U.S. physicians are from these racial and ethnic groups. Meantime, racial and ethnic disparities in care continue to plague the U.S. health care system, according to a federal report.
The good news is that minority physicians are more likely to return to their communities and provide care for minority and underserved populations. That's where you can come in—by encouraging children in your community to consider medicine as a career.
Dionne Hart, MD, a psychiatrist from Rochester, Minn., who chairs the AMA Minority Affairs Section Governing Council, might have said it best in June during a DBTS event at Chicago's Malcolm X College: "It is important that minority students understand there's a place for them in medicine."
The DBTS program offers an action kit that makes it easy for physicians and medical students to conduct a school visit. The kit contains four main components: student, school, parent and physician, with portions of the student and parent components available in Spanish.
Learn more about the DBTS program and find out how you can be an inspiration for the children in your community. Also, view a video that highlights the June DBTS event in Chicago as well as other events that took place just prior to the Annual Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates.