New program in central Ky. aiming at getting more young Black men to become doctors
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Black Male Working Academy’s mission is to educate, motivate, and activate the next generation of young Black men of central Kentucky.
The Academy is starting a new program called Black Boys and Men in Medicine with assistance from the UK College of Medicine. The goal is to get more young Black men to become doctors.
“In the last 10 years the number of African American doctors in the whole United States has decreased by 35%,” said Dr. Roszalyn Akins.
Dr. Akins is the executive director of the Black Males Working Academy. She said this medical program will follow 6th and 7th graders interested in becoming a doctor through their senior year.
UK Healthcare doctors are giving middle school students in the program hands-on training. Seventh grader Jagger Wisley said he understands the need to have more Black male doctors in his community.
“Yes I feel like Black people can feel more comfortable with a Black doctor because we can relate to them way more than if we had a white doctor,” Wisley said.
UK Associate Professor of Pediatrics Dr. Stephanie White said the Association of American Medical Colleges discovered an alarming trend.
“There were less Black men going into medicine in 2014 than there were in 1978,” Dr. White said.
Why the decrease?
“Sometimes it’s because there’s other opportunities for them to have various careers,” Dr. White said.
Dr. Jai Gilliam is practicing some of this science. He’s a physician at Baptist Health and has practiced medicine around central Kentucky for 20 years.
The African American population in Lexington is around 14% and he said he knows of three or four Black male doctors working in the city.
We asked Dr. Gilliam why more Black male doctors are necessary.
“You have to take the whole patient into consideration, so cultural competency is a term we are using,” Dr. Gilliam said.
However, it seems there is a silver lining from COVID-19.
“We are seeing a surge of African American applicants seeking out in the healthcare field,” Dr. Gilliam said.
Dr. Akins said she believes they have at least 10 doctors in the program.
Students in BBAMM will have an opportunity to have their undergrad and medical school paid for if they stay through the entire program.
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