Kevin Thomas, MD, associate professor of medicine (Cardiology), is featured in the video series "Black Men in White Coats."
The video was produced in a partnership between the Duke University School of Medicine and DiverseMedicine Inc.
“The aim of the video series is to inspire more underrepresented minority students to consider the field of medicine by showing them the stories of others who’ve done so successfully,” says Dale Okorodudu, MD, a pulmonary and critical care physician at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center who founded DiverseMedicine Inc. and “Black Men in White Coats” during his time as an Internal Medicine resident at Duke University. “Our mission is to increase ethnic and socioeconomic diversity within the field of medicine. For black men in particular, our aim is to show compelling stories of individuals they can identify with, and in doing so, demonstrate that there is no reason they can’t become medical doctors as well.
Last year, the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) released a report focused on this issue entitled, “Altering the Course: Black Males in Medicine.” In it, the AAMC reports that in 2014 1,337 black males applied to medical school compared to 1,410 in 1978. And just under 4 percent of practicing physicians in the United States today are black, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in October 2015.
Despite the numerous obstacles facing black men pursuing medical careers, the AAMC notes that enrichment and mentoring programs can help.
Diversity and inclusion are priorities for the Duke University School of Medicine, says Judy Seidenstein, the school’s chief diversity officer. Duke University School of Medicine’s medical student classes are among the most diverse nationally. This year’s entering MD class comprises 119 students including 34 underrepresented minority students. The school promotes a holistic admissions process to enhance student diversity, and sponsors pipeline programs to enrich the applicant pools for medical school, residency and fellowship training, and ultimately faculty positions.
Kwadwo Adu Owusu-Akyaw, MD, an orthopaedic surgery resident at Duke is also participating in the video series.
Dr. Thomas was recently appointed assistant dean for underrepresented faculty development. Dr. Owusu-Akyaw is the co-founder of the Coalition of Black Physicians at Duke.