Tag Archive | "Diversity"

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Study: Too Few Blacks, Hispanics Are Becoming Doctors


NEWS REPORT — Too few members of minority groups are pursuing careers in U.S. medicine, resulting in a serious lack of diversity among general practitioners and specialty doctors, a new report finds.

Publicly reported data gathered by researchers showed that in 2012:

• Blacks made up just under 4 percent of practicing physicians, 6 percent of trainees in graduate medical education and 7 percent of medical school graduates. The overall population of the United States was 15 percent Black in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

• Hispanics made up just over 5 percent of practicing physicians, 7.5 percent of graduate medical education trainees, and slightly more than 7 percent of medical school graduates. Their share of the total U.S. population is about 17 percent, according to 2013 census figures.

“My father graduated medical school in 1960, and at that time only three percent of doctors were Black,” said Dr. Wayne Riley, president of the American College of Physicians (ACP) and a clinical professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

“This study shows 3.8 percent of doctors are Black. We’ve had barely perceptible progress. Over a 50-year period, we are still nowhere near African-American and Latino physicians representing their percentage of the population,” said Riley, who is black.

The study findings were published in the Aug. 24 edition of JAMA Internal Medicine.

Diversity is important for many reasons that relate directly to patient care, experts said.

For example, many minority doctors wind up going into primary care and returning to the communities they came from, helping to treat people who otherwise might not be able to find a physician, said Marc Nivet, chief diversity officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Some studies have shown that patients can relate better to doctors who look like them, said Dr. Laura Riley, an obstetrician who is director of Labor and Delivery at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston. She also wrote an accompanying commentary to the study. She is not related to the ACP’s Riley.

“Sometimes there really is that connection that can make a difficult conversation or circumstance a little less difficult,” she said.

Other research has found that doctors from the same racial and ethnic group as a patient may be more sensitive to the issues that a patient faces, Nivet said.

For example, they can design medication schedules or treatment protocols that patients are more likely to stick with, because they’ve taken into account the background of the patient, he said.

Doctors from different racial and ethnic groups also increase the cultural competency of all the doctors around them, helping them better understand the different circumstances of patients, he added.

“It gives all physicians an opportunity to raise their level of cultural competence, because they have peers who are different,” Nivet said.

Women have successfully made inroads into medicine, the study showed. For example, women now represent 48 percent of medical school graduates and 46 percent of trainees in graduate medical education, the study found.

Women also are the majority in seven specialties among graduate medical education trainees, including obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, dermatology, family medicine and pathology, researchers revealed.

A number of roadblocks remain for minorities, starting with the primary education they receive.

“There’s uneven quality in K-through-12 education,” said the ACP’s Riley. “We have to improve public education, and make sure we expose young men and women to the notion that they too can become medical professionals and participate in a wonderful life serving others in a health care setting.”

Cost is another factor. “Medical school is ridiculously expensive,” MGH’s Riley said. “I think we need to be sure it isn’t something that takes people off the path.”

More scholarships and financial assistance would help, but Nivet added that students also can be encouraged by people who provide a broader perspective on that cost.

“For low-income students, the idea that you could have $200,000 in college debt causes some to weed themselves out of the process,” Nivet said. “The only way they’ll stay in is if they have good counselors or role models that tell them that it’s a solid investment in their future, and that the return on that investment will be extremely high.”

Diversity also could be helped by more people of color reaching higher levels of responsibility, MGH’s Riley said.

“I am energized and excited by the number of people in the pipeline, but I am discouraged by the number of people who make it to the top,” she said. “Within medical schools, deans and department chairs need to look at their faculty and advance people who deserve to be advanced.”

ACP’s Riley noted that he is only the third Black president that the American College of Physicians has had in its 100-year history.

“I don’t want to be an aberration in the history of the American College of Physicians,” he said. “We need more physicians to follow in my footsteps. I worry it may be many, many years before someone like me rises to a leadership position.”

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Q&A: Common Core a ‘Response’ to Growing Classroom Diversity


New America Media, Question & Answer By George White
Editor’s Note:  Connecticut, like Georgia and 43 other states,  will begin or has begun implementing the new Common Core State Standards for English-language arts and math. The new standards are designed to revamp the way schools instruct and assess students, placing greater emphasis on critical thinking, analysis, real-world applications and problem solving. There are questions, however, about whether the new standards will help close or widen the achievement gap for African American children. Connecticut could learn from Georgia State University professor Julie Washington,  a leading expert on black student literacy and serves on a Common Core advisory panel for Scholastic Inc., which produces  books for school districts. She says the new standards are a reflection of the country’s growing diversity, and that they will help raise expectations for all students. She spoke with NAM’s George White.What is Common Core and what should the black community know about these new standards?Common Core is a set of a teaching standards agreed to by most states. Some states need Common Core because they don’t have statewide standards. Georgia has statewide standards but we all want to see improvement in academic outcomes in our state and Common Core will help us achieve that because the Common Core curricula are rigorous and the classroom expectations are high.

In many ways, Common Core is a response to the increasing diversity in the country. Students are bringing a lot of different cultural experiences and differences to the classroom. The new standards – if they are adhered to – should benefit African-American children and all other students because classroom expectations will be raised and more transparent.

Why were the standards adopted? 

Common Core is being adopted because there is so much [state-to-state] variation in student performance, in teaching quality and in academic outcomes. Some of the disparities are related to teaching quality and some are related to curriculum content and different academic expectations.

Common Core is important for Georgia because the state has consistently ranked among the bottom ten states in academic performance. Georgia can be better than that! We want to be certain that when a child is educated in Georgia and moves away, parents will find that our curricular content and expectations are consistent with their new home state.

What will the changes in English language arts instruction mean for black student performance? 

The greatest disparity between white and black students has been in classes that rely on reading ability. There is a real learning curve because many low-income African-American students speak a cultural dialect that has features that differ from those that the school expects. The situation is similar to students who are learning English as a second language. This is not true for all African-American students but for those from impoverished backgrounds, this is often a concern.

In reading, 84 percent of African-American kids are at a basic level or below, and only 16 percent are proficient. Common Core will help address this problem because some of the language differences – for example, subject-verb agreement – are addressed in the standards. This is important because if a student uses a dialect and doesn’t learn to switch to the linguistic code of the classroom by the end of first grade, reading growth slows down. Students who make the shift from community language to standard English by second grade can usually keep pace.

How is this connected to your work with the Learning Disabilities Innovation Research Hub?

My colleagues (Dr. Mark Seidenberg from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Dr. Nicole Patton-Terry from Georgia State University) and I entered a 2012 competition for a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Our proposal focused on African-American kids and learning disabilities. African American children are overrepresented in special education generally, but have been underrepresented as recipients of learning disability assistance, because if your reading problem is believed to be based on linguistic difference, cultural difference or poverty, you don’t qualify as learning disabled.

Our goal is to figure out which students are doing well, which students have true learning disabilities and which students have reading problems due to issues related to poverty. Working in partnership with Atlanta Public Schools, we are involved in five elementary schools, where we are testing the reading, writing, language and cognitive skills of 750 students. The parents of these students agreed to the testing. When the testing studies are done, the next step is intervention to address the disabilities.

We have about 50 Georgia State students who are involved with the testing and also serve as volunteers who provide classroom assistance requested by teachers. For example, the volunteers might read to students or provide tutoring at a teachers’ request.

What are your thoughts on the parental factor in black academic achievement? 

Parental involvement has a demonstrated impact on academic achievement. Parents need to be informed about these new standards. I don’t know that the burden of parent involvement is any greater under Common Core because parental involvement is always important.

It’s about shared expectations. It’s important for parents to understand their school’s academic expectations so that they can support those standards at home. Often, low-income African-American parents don’t understand their power to insist on quality of education. Parents need to make their high expectations known to the school.

How do you respond to those who say Common Core is an example of government overreach in standardizing education? 

I think they are not fully informed. The federal government had nothing to do with this. Common Core is a states initiative coordinated by governors and the heads of state education departments. In this partisan environment, there are some who believe that everything that comes from Washington is bad. But this has nothing to do with federal government.

Overall, will the implementation of Common Core help close the achievement gap?

Theoretically, if we have high standards for everyone and adequate professional development for teachers, I believe Common Core will contribute to narrowing the achievement gap; but it will not eliminate it. It is not realistic to expect the Common Core to close a gap that is present at the time that kids enter schools.

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Hollanders Deny Allegations of Racial Discrimination at Hartford Distributors


HARTFORD — The Hollander family is one of the most respected family in Connecticut. Ross Hollander, the patriarch of the family, is known for his “fairness and kindness” because he has been donating regular to nonprofit organizations and reportedly fighting for school equity, the family spokesperson said today.

That’s why news report of racial harrasment in thier Manchester-based company, Hartford Distributors Inc., is painful, said James Battaglio, a spokesman for the Hollander family.

“It’s painful to hear allegations that are unfounded,” Battaglio said at a press conference today at Teamters Local 1035 in East Windsor.

Early Tuesday morning, Hartford Distributor’s truck driver Omar Thornton,34, allegedly began a shooting rampage, killing 8 employees and then turned a gun on himself. Thornton’s family said that in a phone conversation with his mother Nellie Holliday of East Hartford, Thornton called and said he “killed the racist bastards.”

His brother Edward Kinder said yesterday Thornton had been complaining about racism on the job “from the start.”

“They called him porch monkey…nigger…all kinds of names,” Kinder, 38, said.

The Hollanders through their spokesperson said discrimination is not tolerated at Hartford Distributors.

At the press conference other reporters asked about the percentage of minorities working at the beer warehouse.

According to the Hollanders, there are 130 employees. On the loading dock, there are 69 employees. Of the total, there are four African Americans, nine Latinos and one Asian.

One reporter asked, which department did the four African Americans work?

“We are not here for that,” Battaglio said. “It’s only been 48 hours. This is still very fresh and very fragile.”

However, Hollander did give this statement to reporters about Thornton who was asked to resign from the company shortly before the shooting rampage:

“We conducted a fair and thorough investigation which concluded that Omar was stealing beer from the company and selling it to third parties,” he said.

One of the Hollander brothers, Steve Hollander, is vice president of the company. He was one of several who met with Thornton Tuesday morning. He was also shot and is recovering from his injuries.

Hartford Distributors has been closed since the shooting as Manchester police continued its investigation.

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Norwich Police Aims For Diversity


Well, diversity is back on the agenda for some tax-supported agencies and institutions that have realized diversity became an afterthought in the so-called age of Obama and that no such thing as a “post-racial society” exist.

Check out this AP Story.

NORWICH, Conn. – Norwich police are slated to discuss a plan aimed at recruiting women and minorities to the department. 

Officers Anthony Gomes and Ryan Kelsey said scheduled Monday to speak at The Norwich Free Academy. 

Kelsey said the city has evolved into a melting pot of nationalities with more Haitian, Asian, African-American and Cape Verdean residents. 

Gomes estimates that nine of the department’s 83 sworn officers are minorities, and three of them are women. 

Belmiro “Junie” Rodriguez, president of the Cape Verde Santiago Society in Norwich, said potential Cape Verdean recruits don’t have enough information on how to become a police officer. He welcomed the department’s new recruiting efforts. 

Norwich Police Chief Louis Fusaro said recruitment is down nationwide.


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