Dr. Kanika Bowen-Jallow has made history by becoming the ninth-ever female Black pediatric surgeon in the United States.
And while this feat is impressive, it is also further proof of the disparity between Black health and the presence of Black doctors.
According to ABC 8 Dallas, Dr. Bowen-Jallow is a Black pediatric surgeon at the Cook Children’s new hospital in Prosper, Texas.
Bowen-Jallow, who said she was inspired to become a doctor from the day she got the board game “Operation” as a gift, said that while she was fortunate to come from the background she came from, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted, for her, how few Black doctors there are in the medical field — as well as the disparities between the races in health education.
“When I got my COVID vaccine I took a video of it, and I sent it out to my friends and family because I had been getting is it safe? Is it OK? Are you going to take it?” she told the ABC affiliate. “It shouldn’t be that you get to college before you realize that there are Black people in medicine. Right now we are underrepresented. Minorities across the board are underrepresented in medicine.”
Dr. Bowen-Jallow is correct: the fact that she’s the ninth-ever female Black pediatric surgeon in the United States is gobsmacking enough. The Association of American Medical Colleges reports that just 5% of all doctors currently practicing in the United States identify as Black. And there is some concern that the trends of Black men and women entering medicine will continue in the wrong direction.
This is leading to concerns about racial biases in medicine — though, fortunately, there are more than a few people who are doing something about it all.