HARTFORD, Conn. -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Tour for Diversity in Medicine will travel the Northeast corridor to introduce medicine and dentistry as a field of advanced study and career path to minority students from September 23-28, 2013. Along with Tour partner the Aetna Foundation, more than 15 doctors, dentists and medical school students from across the country will participate in the program, which will provide full-day, hands-on workshops to undergrad students in six states. For the first time, the Tour will also engage with high school students, in addition to college undergraduates, during the Tour’s final stop in Washington, D.C.
The Tour will travel 400 miles over six days making six different stops at locations including two historically black colleges and universities. The participating medical professionals will hold conversations with hundreds of potential medical and dental professionals over the course of the week. The Tour for Diversity in Medicine’s mission is to help diversify the health care profession by giving minority students the advice and tools they will need to pursue medical careers.
Although African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans compose more than 26 percent of the U.S. population, they represent only six percent of practicing physicians and five percent of dentists, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). In 2011, African-American and Hispanic students made up only 15 percent of all U.S. medical school applicants.1 Yet research shows that patients who receive care from doctors of the same background are more satisfied with their care and more engaged in their treatment.
“Our mission is to make a tangible difference in the lives of students and the broader community by offering the vision and real-world strategies to overcome barriers to address the need for greater diversity in the medical profession. Bridging the health-equity gap for under-represented minorities will only happen if our next generation is ready to meet the challenge,” said Alden Landry, M.D., co-founder of the Tour for Diversity in Medicine and an emergency department physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “By reaching students early, even at the high school level, and engaging in face-to-face sessions with professionals who come from similar backgrounds, we hope to empower students to consider a career in medicine early on – and to imagine what’s possible for patients and their communities with a more diverse physician population.”
The week of September 23, the Tour for Diversity in Medicine will travel to:
Garth Graham, M.D., M.P.H., president of the Aetna Foundation, said, “As our nation’s population becomes increasingly diverse, we need to ensure that future health care providers reflect the racial and ethnic diversity that will help further positive health outcomes today and for future generations. As the Tour’s founding sponsor, we are pleased to offer our support to this innovative initiative that takes concrete steps to help under-represented minorities see a path forward to a career in medicine.”
Aetna is offering further support to the Tour by hosting a workshop on Monday, September 23 at its Hartford headquarters for more than 100 college students from the University of Connecticut, St. Joseph’s University, Quinnipiac University and other area educational institutions.
Each university campus tour stop involves a full-day session about the medical school application process, admissions tests, financial aid, interviewing skills and an overview of health disparities. Students interact one-on-one with mentors who will offer personal insights and share their experiences about how to build a successful career in medicine or dentistry. Unique this year, high school students will participate in sessions at Georgetown University School of Medicine to help set them up for college academic success and expose them to courses on topics including, “Building Academic Habits,” “College Readiness 101” and “Interactive Healthcare Skills.”
“Along the way, the enthusiasm we’ve received from students has propelled us to reach more than 1,400 students in the dozen states we’ve visited on past Tours. We look forward to tracking these students as they begin their journeys toward a career in medicine,” said Kameron Matthews, M.D., J.D., co-founder of the Tour for Diversity in Medicine and medical director of the Division Street site of Erie Family Health Center in Chicago. “We volunteer our time and log the miles because we are committed to giving back on behalf of the mentoring we received in our careers. If we are able to spark interest in a career in medicine, this cycle of mentorship has been paid forward again.”
The event is free for students. Registration is available at www.tour4diversity.org.
Additional support for the Northeast tour comes from the U.S. Army, AAMC, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, American Dental Education Association and the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine. For more information, follow the Tour for Diversity in Medicine on www.Facebook.tourfordiversity and Twitter @Tour4Diversity or visit tour4diversity.org.
About the Aetna Foundation
The Aetna Foundation, Inc. is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc. Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed more than $427 million in grants and sponsorships, including more than $14.6 million awarded in 2012. As a national health foundation, we promote wellness, health, and access to high-quality health care for everyone. This work is enhanced by the time and commitment of Aetna employees, who have volunteered four million hours since 2003. The Aetna Foundation’s current giving is focused on addressing the rising rate of adult and childhood obesity in the U.S.; promoting racial and ethnic equity in health and health care; and advancing integrated health care. For more information, visit www.aetnafoundation.org.
About Tour for Diversity in Medicine
The Tour for Diversity in Medicine (T4D), a project of Hip Hop Health Inc., seeks to educate, inspire and cultivate future physicians and dentists of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds by forming local connections in order to fulfill a national need. Conceived by former medical student leaders, T4D will bring premedical enrichment activities to underrepresented minority undergraduate students in order to assist with the diversification of the health professions workforce. T4D is a grassroots effort and has reached 1,400 students to date. This is the fourth Tour since T4D’s founding in 2012. Visit tour4diversity.org for more information.
1 Diversity in Medical Education: Facts & Figures 2012, The Association of American Medical Colleges