profession

Mentoring project aims to increase minorities in medicine

The website allows students to connect with role models and get the inside word on medical careers from physicians.

By Kevin B. O’Reilly — Posted June 12, 2013

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

A Web-based mentoring service launched in August 2012 has attracted 400 active users in its effort to help underrepresented minorities pursue careers in medicine.

The project, DiverseMedicine Inc., allows users to request a personal mentor to answer questions through the website’s instant messaging or video chat functions. High school, college and medical students also use discussion forums to cover topics such as admissions testing and residency applications.

The need for the service is great, say organizers of the project, which is open to all students online (link). Seven percent of medical school faculty are black, Hispanic or Native American, says the Assn. of American Medical Colleges. The share of medical students from underrepresented minority groups is about 15%, a figure that has not budged much since 2001.

Closing the gap

Courtesy|unlim|free|mug|photo|100x150|

Dale Okorodudu, MD

“One of the main reasons why there are so few minorities in the field of medicine is because of the mentoring gap. If nobody’s there to tell you how to get into medical school, you’re not going to get in,” said Dale O. Okorodudu, MD, the project’s founder and a senior resident at Duke University School of Medicine’s internal medicine residency program in Durham, N.C. Too many students do not get advice about postbaccalaureate premedical programs or health-related master’s degrees that can aid their chances of medical school admission, said Cedric Bright, MD. He sits on the project’s board of directors and is assistant dean of admissions at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

“This online component … provides a venue for folks to realize that there are role models out there that they don’t see that often,” Dr. Bright said. The American Medical Association is working to develop a LinkedIn-style mentoring site for medical students and residents to connect with practicing physicians.

Back to top


ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISE HERE


Featured
Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story


Read story

Goodbye

American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story


Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story


Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story


Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story


Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story


Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story


Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story