Opinion: For minority students, the pipeline to an M.D. is leaky. Here’s how I managed to make it through

For minority students like me, the path to medicine is uncertain and uncharted. We need to build stronger, less-leaky pipelines for these students.

The population of physicians in the U.S. should look like the population as a whole. But it doesn’t. African-Americans and Hispanics now make up about 31 percent of the U.S. population, but comprise just 15 percent of this year’s first-year medical students. That number would be higher if we could figure out how to keep potential medical students from falling through the leaks in the pipeline from grammar school to medical school and beyond.

The leaks are everywhere. Lack of family support: drip. Low-functioning schools: drip. Little guidance or support from teachers: drip. No role models or mentors: drip.

As an African-American girl growing up in a lower-middle-class neighborhood in North Carolina, one of those “drips” should have derailed my journey. Yet I managed to traverse the pipeline and become

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from STAT

STAT3 min read
FDA Slams Dollar Tree For Purchasing Drugs From Suppliers With Checkered Safety Records
Dollar Tree purchased drugs from foreign companies that failed to follow manufacturing standard, displaying a pattern of serious violations, the FDA said in a warning letter.
STAT4 min read
Opinion: President Trump: Don’t Fail America’s Children On Flavored E-cigarettes
If flavors are the bait that attracts kids to e-cigarettes, nicotine is the hook. Some of the most popular e-cigarettes contain as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.
STAT4 min readSociety
Opinion: Adult Vaccination Saves Lives. Why Do So Few Adults Get Vaccinated?
It's time to elevate vaccines to the scientific and technological zenith they deserve as one of the greatest advances of the 20th century, one that now has the potential to…