Follow the Data Podcast

94. Increasing the Number of Black Doctors in the U.S.

Episode Notes

The pandemic has been especially devastating for the Black community – which highlights the need for more Black doctors more than ever. Black communities are 4x more likely to have a shortage of physicians, and just 5% of practicing doctors are Black, even though Black patients have better health outcomes when treated by Black doctors.

While Black doctors are more likely to serve those in medically underserved areas, medical school debt often forces them to choose between a career of passion and a career that would pay the bills. And the economic impact of the pandemic only makes it harder for many students to complete their degrees.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a $100 million gift to the four historically Black medical schools in the U.S. - Meharry Medical College, Howard University College of Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. This gift will help ease the debt burden of medical students currently enrolled and receiving financial aid in order to help increase the number of Black doctors in the U.S. 

This gift is the first investment of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative, an effort to increase intergenerational Black wealth and address systemic underinvestment in Black communities. 

In this episode, Garnesha Ezediaro, who leads the Greenwood Initiative at Bloomberg Philanthropies, sits down with Dr. David Carlisle, President and CEO of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, and Dr. Wayne Frederick, President of Howard University. They discuss how health and wealth disparities in Black communities are linked, how the pandemic has impacted Black Americans, and how Bloomberg Philanthropies’ gift of up to $100,000 for participating medical school students will impact their school communities and beyond. This is the first episode in a two-part series around this initiative.