1 in 5 Students from AMSNY Pipeline Programs Won’t Become a Doctor if State Cuts Funding 20%, Hurting Healthcare in NY
(New York, NY) – The Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY), on behalf of the state’s 16 medical schools, are calling on state legislators to reject a proposed 20% cut to diversity in medicine pipeline programs included in the New York State Executive Budget for FY19.
If enacted, a 20% cut would mean that one in five future AMSNY pipeline students from underrepresented backgrounds would not have the opportunity to become a doctor – a loss that will also be felt by New York’s diverse residents.
New York already has a big diversity gap: underrepresented minorities (Black/African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos) make up approximately 31% of the population but only 12% of the state’s physician workforce, according to data from the SUNY Albany Center for Health Workforce Studies.
This lack of representation has implications for medical care across the state, as research shows that patients who have doctors from similar racial or ethnic backgrounds have better medical experiences. Additionally, physicians from underrepresented minority groups are more likely to practice primary care and practice in low-income and underserved areas.
“Having more doctors who represent the great diversity of New York state will further enable us to improve health outcomes, but diversity in medicine programs are consistently on the chopping block,” said Jo Wiederhorn, President and CEO of AMSNY. “We need state legislators to help New York move forward, not backward, in diversifying our physician workforce for the sake of our residents.”
Barriers to a career in medicine prevent many individuals from underrepresented backgrounds from pursuing their dreams of becoming a doctor. Too many students are discouraged by school counselors, or don’t understand the criteria and prerequisites for medical school, find the application process confusing, and see the financial commitment as overwhelmingly daunting.
In order to help prospective doctors overcome these barriers, AMSNY has successfully run diversity in medicine pipeline programs across New York State for 25 years. 95% of students in AMSNY post-collegiate programs have gone on to become doctors. Without these programs, these students would not have been accepted to medical school.
At its height, AMSNY received $1.96M in NYS Department of Health funding for diversity programs. Between FY09 and FY18 the budget had been slowly reduced, due to the recession. However last year, FY18, the budget was reduced 22.5%, bringing funding to $1.244M. This necessitated defunding one program completely and reducing the number of students served from 100 in 2009 to 45 in 2018.
The FY19 budget proposes an additional 20% cut, which would be devastating to the operation of pipeline programs, and resulting in an additional one in five students losing the opportunity to become a doctor.
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