Crain’s Health Pulse: AMSNY’s new med-school scholarships promote diversity  

The Associated Medical Schools of New York on Tuesday announced its first 10 scholarships for disadvantaged and minority medical students to study in the state.

The organization’s new Diversity in Medicine scholarship program is initially funded with a $500,000 one-year grant from the state Department of Health.

The students were selected from among graduates of AMSNY’s post-baccalaureate programs, which offer a pipeline to med school by providing provisional acceptance to successful participants.

Each student will receive $42,000, an award that’s pegged to the cost of tuition and fees at a SUNY medical school. As part of their contract, they must agree to work in an underserved community in New York when they complete their medical training.

In the fall AMSNY will begin advocating in Albany for future budget allocations to continue the program, said Jo Wiederhorn, president of the group that represents the state’s medical schools. “We’ll ask for renewed funding for the 10 students, plus ask for money for another 10 students,” she said. “With the cost of medical school continuing to increase, I think it will help people make the decision to go work in an underserved area.”

From 2011 to 2015, just 12% of the state’s doctors were black or Hispanic—even though those groups accounted for 31% of the state’s population, according to the SUNY Albany Center for Health Workforce Studies. Research shows that having doctors from diverse backgrounds helps improve the quality of care in minority communities, Wiederhorn said. —R.S.