BronxTalk – Diversity in Medicine

Doctors from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Health System: (L-R) Dr. Andre Bryan, Dr. Dahlia Townsend, Dr. Michelle Ng Gong, (photo courtesy of AECOM)


This week’s BronxTalk on BronxNet takes a look at the lack of diversity in medicine and how it affects care, especially during this time of pandemic when quality medical care is literally a matter of life or death.

According to the Associated Medical Schools of NY (AMSNY), today there are as few Black men in medicine as there were in the 1970s and In New York State, between 2011 and 2015, Blacks/African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos were approximately 31% of the population, yet only 12% of the physician workforce.

Jo Wiederhorn, President & CEO of the AMSNY talked with host Gary Axelbank about their study Addressing the Challenges of a Diverse Physician Workforce that sheds light on health disparities, barriers to diversifying the physician workforce, as well as the gap in physician diversity and how it contributes to the gross health disparities faced by people of color which have been magnified by the coronavirus pandemic.

Also Nilda Soto, Assistant Dean for Diversity Enhancement at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, reviewed their on-going scholastic programs in city schools designed to inspire young people of color to enter the field of medicine. 

Get Connected on Lite FM 106.7: Associated Medical Schools of NY & Racial Diversity

New York City’s 106.7 Lite FM’s weekly talk show with host Nina del Rio and guests, airing every
Sunday, 7-7:30am EST.July 26, 2020 16 min

Jo Wiederhorn, President & CEO of Associated Medical Schools of New York, a consortium of 17 public and private medical schools throughout New York State, discusses racial disparities in medicine and solutions to creating a diverse physician workforce. For more, visit

Crain’s New York: Letter to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Prioritize diversity among doctors

June 30, 2020 01:19 PM

Getty Images: 
Medical workers take in patients at a special coronavirus intake area at Maimonides Medical Center on April 07, 2020 in Brooklyn.

To the editor:

We were glad to see the editorial board’s statement that “It’s essential for NY to acknowledge bias in health care.”

As Covid-19 brings a renewed focus on addressing health disparities, we urge policymakers to include efforts to increase diversity among doctors as a key tool in this effort. 

Research on health disparities has found evidence of improved treatment and prevention when patients are seen by a racially concordant doctor or a doctor from a similar racial background.

Additionally, doctors from underrepresented backgrounds are more likely to work in primary care and in medically underserved areas, where there are physician shortages and decreased access to care.

Unfortunately, there are not nearly enough diverse doctors to meet the needs of diverse patients. Here in New York state, only 12% of the physician workforce is Black or Latinx, compared with 31% of the population.

In order to increase diversity among doctors, we must address the systemic barriers to medical school, including financial barriers, alongside the lack of access to mentorship and guidance during high school or undergraduate studies.

Publicly-funded pipeline programs and scholarships for students from underrepresented backgrounds are successful in supporting aspiring doctors to become physicians but have shrunk over the years instead of expanding to meet the need. The pandemic has shown us we can’t wait any longer to prioritize diversity among doctors.

Jo Wiederhorn
President and CEO
The Associated Medical Schools of New York

Statement from AMSNY:

The Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY)—the consortium of all 17 medical schools in the state—joins with many across the country in mourning Black lives lost to police violence, and we stand in solidarity with those expressing outrage and sorrow through protest.

The problems of systemic racism in America are far reaching and extend well beyond policing. You can see it clearly in our health care settings. There are as few Black men in medicine today as there were in the 1970s.  The gap in physician diversity contributes to the gross health disparities faced by people of color in America – disparities magnified by the pandemic.

We are aware of the extra obstacles Black students, faculty and researchers are asked to overcome in pursuing their education and careers. It’s why we run pipeline programs to support students who are from racial, ethnic and cultural groups that are underrepresented in medicine. Our programs provide academic support and mentoring for students starting in middle school and continuing until entry into medical school, with a scholarship program to further support medical students. It’s why we convene representatives from NY medical schools to discuss ways to better prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion and from that, develop actionable solutions.  It is clear that we all can and must do more to combat institutional racism in our country. 

We recognize there is much more work to be done in our sector and will continue looking for additional ways to support Black students and faculty in the weeks, months, and years ahead. As we move forward, we are committed to listening and learning, and we welcome feedback and ideas. And we will continue to speak out about these issues and advocate for change.

Please reach out to if you would like to share your thoughts with us.

WBAI Radio Pacifica: Coronavirus Diary

New York is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the planet. The battle against the virus has profoundly changed Americans’ way of life. For some, it means death. WBAI’s Celeste Katz Marston is collecting the stories of New Yorkers fighting their way through the storm.

Dr. Rafael Hernandez shares his experience of going straight from medical school to caring for Covid-19 patients as a junior physician at a New York hospital. 

Bronx News 12: Meet Mindy Baucicot: From medical school to the front lines of COVID-19

As the fight against the coronavirus continues, medical students have been stepping up to the front lines – heroes making their way from a virtual graduation straight into hospitals.

News 12’s Sabrina Franza spoke with Mindy Baucicot, who graduated from Stony Brook University last week.

“For every patient that leaves, being rolled out to be transported home, we are literally on the floors clapping,” she told News 12.

Baucicot hopes to be an OBGYN when the pandemic is over.