New York State Budget Addresses Health Disparities with Funding for Diversity in Medicine Programs, Scholarship

The Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY), on Behalf of Underrepresented in Medicine Students, Thanks the Black, Hispanic, Puerto Rican and Asian Legislative Caucus  

(New York, NY) – On behalf of all 16 medical schools in New York State, and particularly medical students from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine, the Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) commends NY State legislators for providing level funding for AMSNY Diversity in Medicine programs in the FY2020 budget.

“AMSNY Diversity in Medicine programs, funded by the NYS Department of Health, have a 94+ percent success rate and have produced hundreds of doctors who often practice in underserved communities and work to reduce health care disparities in our state,” said Jo Wiederhorn, CEO of AMSNY.  “The return on investment for New York is enormous and we are especially grateful to Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, Assembly Member Michael Blake, Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, Senator Jamaal Bailey, Senator Tim Kennedy, Senator Luis Sepulveda, as well as the entire Black, Hispanic, Puerto Rican and Asian Legislative Caucus, and the Hispanic Task Force, for understanding this value and advocating for these programs.”

These state-funded programs are crucial, as a lack of diversity in medicine persists in New York State. Underrepresented minorities (Black/African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos) make up approximately 31% of New York’s 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.

AMSNY’s state-funded Diversity in Medicine Program has enabled more than 500 students from ethnic/racial backgrounds which are underrepresented in medicine (and/or from economically or educationally underserved areas) to become doctors. The programs include the 28-year-old, one-year post-baccalaureate program at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, and three post-baccalaureate/master’s programs at New York Medical College, Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University School, and SUNY Upstate Medical University.

The new budget also includes funds for diversity in medicine scholarships, which cover the cost of tuition for 1 year for 10 students who graduated from AMSNY post-baccalaureate programs. The cost of medical school tuition is among the biggest barriers to entry for underrepresented in medicine students.