An analysis has proven just how crucial the call to action — “We need more Black doctors” — really is.
What’s more, the findings showed that there was a longer life expectancy rate for Black residents with even just one Black physician, and that is still the case if they aren’t directly treated by the underrepresented provider.
“That a single Black physician in a county can have an impact on an entire population’s mortality, it’s stunningly overwhelming,” Monica Peek, a primary care physician and health equity researcher at UChicago Medicine, said according to STAT. “It validates what people in health equity have been saying about all the ways Black physicians are important, but to see the impact at the population level is astonishing.”
While the value of trust toward Black doctors is something that the Black community leans into, the study didn’t share a direct reason for why Black people tend to live longer in counties with Black doctors. However, it shared that compared to any other race, Black doctors are more likely to treat low-income and Medicaid patients, which played a role in impoverished counties having the greatest improvement in life expectancy.
“I wasn’t expecting that,” said Rachel Upton, an HHS statistician and social science analyst. “It shows having Black physicians is not only helpful across the board, but it’s particularly useful with counties with high poverty.”
The analysis focuses on how Black physicians greatly support Black residents but also shows that all patients would benefit from their presence in the medical field.
And more diversity is on the way. In December 2022, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) shared that there was a 9% increase in Black applicants to U.S. medical schools in the 2022-23 academic year.