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New NYS-Sponsored Scholarship Helps Students from Diverse Backgrounds Become Doctors, Close Diversity in Medicine Gap
(New York, NY) – Today, the Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) announced the 10 recipients of the new Diversity in Medicine Scholarship program. The scholarship program was funded this year by the New York State Department of Health, thanks to the support of the legislature, to help address the gap in physician diversity.
According to data from the SUNY Albany Center for Health Workforce Studies, Blacks/African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos made up only 12% of the physician workforce in the state between 2011-2015, compared to approximately 31% of New York’s population. Data shows that patients who have doctors who represent their own diversity have better medical experiences.
Thanks to a $500,000 investment from the state, the medical school scholarships — pegged to the cost of SUNY medical school tuition— will help students from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine by eliminating the financial barrier to medical school enrollment.
“We are grateful to the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus Members, and particularly Assembly Members Blake, People-Stokes, and Perry, Chair of Caucus, who understand that having more doctors who represent the great diversity of New York state will further enable us to improve health outcomes,” said AMSNY President Jo Wiederhorn. “Thanks to them, we will improve opportunities for students from underrepresented backgrounds and continue to diversify our physician workforce.”
Assemblymember Michael A. Blake said: “Investing in our medical students of color is an investment in the future and with the inclusion of funding for the Diversity in Medicine Program in the 2018 FY Budget, that is exactly what we are doing. These funds not only go to support students from economically underserved areas but also to the communities they return to, increasing the number and quality of health service in these areas. The Diversity in Medicine scholarship creates opportunities by eliminating the economic barrier that many experience during medical school enrollment. Each year, this program will give ten distinguished students the opportunity to continue learning, growing and making The Bronx and all of New York a greater state and, most importantly, bringing diversity to our medical field. I congratulate President Jo Wiederhorn for her exemplary leadership, Assembly Member Crystal Peoples-Stokes who continues to be the champion of this great cause and my colleagues in the Legislature and Executive Office to once again secure the funds to invest in our students future.”
“Congratulations to Karole Collier and Bradley Frate on obtaining Diversity in Medicine Scholarships as UB Medical Students. May your passion to treat the sick and underserved and your desire to reduce health disparities inspire the next generation of physicians. While the mastery of academics is key, so is cultural competency and the willingness to understand how diet, exercise and life choices affect one’s health. This is why I have and will continue to strongly advocate for increased diversity in medicine,” stated Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes.
The 2017 Diversity in Medicine Scholarship recipients are: Karole Collier, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo; Melissa Espert, SUNY Upstate Medical University; Bradley Frate, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo; John Lopez, Albany Medical College; Catherina Lubin, SUNY Downstate College of Medicine; Zacharia Mohamed, SUNY Upstate Medical University; Akya Myrie, SUNY Downstate College of Medicine; Diana Perez, Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Sebastian Placide, Albert Einstein College of Medicine; and Nefertiti Tyehemba, SUNY Upstate Medical University.
The students were selected from among graduates of AMSNY post-bac programs, which provide students from economically or educationally underserved areas with provisional acceptance at a New York State medical school depending on their completion of one of three programs. The Diversity in Medicine Program, which is supported by the New York State Department of Health, has enabled 450 students from economically or educationally underserved areas to become doctors. The programs include the 25-year-old, one-year post-baccalaureate program at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, and master’s programs at New York Medical College, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and SUNY Upstate Medical University.
The Diversity in Medicine scholarship is available to New York medical school students from economically and educationally underserved areas. For many students, paying for a medical education is a daunting challenge— of the graduating class of 2015, 81 percent of medical students reported leaving medical school with student loan debt. Across the country, the median level of debt for the class of 2015 was $183,000, not including accrued interest.
The Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) is a consortium of the 16 public and private medical schools throughout New York State. AMSNY’s mission is to promote high quality and cost-efficient health care by assuring that the medical schools of New York State can provide outstanding medical education, care and research. The combined total of New York’s medical schools economic impact equals more than $85.6 billion. This means $1 in every $13 in the New York economy is related to AMSNY medical schools and their primary hospital affiliates. For more information on AMSNY, please visit: www.amsny.org