Associated Medical Schools of New York, on Behalf of Underrepresented in Medicine Students, Thanks State Assembly, the Black, Hispanic, Puerto Rican and Asian Legislative Caucus, and Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes
In response to the release of the New York State Assembly FY19 Families First budget proposal, Associated Medical Schools of New York President Jo Wiederhorn issued the following statement:
“Students who are underrepresented in medicine today gained a champion in the State Assembly with the restoration of cuts proposed to the highly successful and much-needed diversity in medicine programs run by AMSNY.
“And they are not the only winners in this proposed budget; New Yorkers from diverse backgrounds will be better served and experience improved health outcomes when they have access to doctors who represent their diversity.
“New York has a big gap between diverse doctors and diverse patients. For 25 years, AMSNY diversity in medicine programs, thanks to funding from New York State, has worked to close the gap by paving the way for more underrepresented in medicine students to become doctors.
“The programs have a 94+ percent success rate and have produced hundreds of doctors who often serve in primary care in underserved communities. The return on investment is enormous and we are grateful to the State Assembly, the Black, Hispanic, Puerto Rican and Asian Legislative Caucus, and Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes for proposing a restoration to the cuts.”
The State Assembly proposed restoring the program budget to $1,244,000, up $248,800 from the governor’s proposed budget. The program was cut 22.5 percent in the FY18 budget. At its height, the program had a $1,960,000 budget and served more students from high school through post-baccalaureate. For more information, visit https://amsny.org/initiatives/advocacy/state-advocacy/
A few years ago my mother told me she was donating her body to science. I investigated why this is a good alternative to a traditional funeral. In New York, the Associated Medical Schools of New York help license whole body donation programs amongst medical colleges in the state. These reputable schools serve as a protection against the darker side of body brokers. When I pass on, my body will be going to science. Following is a transcript of the video.
Kevin Reilly: When I die, this body is going straight to science. It’s not going in a casket. It’s not going to a crematorium. I’m going to donate it right to a medical school. Why?
Peggy Reilly: My name is Peggy Reilly. I’m 65 years old.
Kevin Reilly: This is my mother. And the story starts with her. She traveled all around the world, raised three awesome kids, and is generally amazing. But then something happened.
Peggy Reilly: I had a stroke on March 23rd, 2012.
Kevin Reilly: The stroke was caused by a blood vessel bursting in her brain. It changed everything.
Peggy Reilly: I miss working properly, taking care of my husband and my children. I miss that. And driving, and … taking care of the dogs, and cleaning the house. And walking. I miss all that.
Kevin Reilly: A few years after the stroke, she told me she wanted to donate her body to science. And my reaction was, “Why?” Because it’s expensive to have a funeral. But I’d like them to learn from my body, so that they can use everything from my whole entire body, and the bones and everything.
Funerals are expensive. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the median price is about $7,300. And a cremation is only about a thousand dollars cheaper. This is a funeral pricing checklist from the Federal Trade Commission. Basic service for the funeral director and staff, pickup of body, embalming, other preparation of body, casket, funeral memorial service, graveside service, including staff and equipment, hearse.
This is ridiculous. I don’t want to put my loved ones through that. So this got me thinking that, like my mom, I should use what I have to help people once I’m dead. So I went to find out how I can donate my body.
This is Jo Wiederhorn. She’s the President and CEO of the Associated Medical Schools of New York. That’s the group that makes sure body donation programs in New York are legit.
Jo Wiederhorn: So the process is really very easy. First of all, when you decide that that’s what you want to do, you should contact the medical school that you want to donate to. And I would say that you should donate to a medical school. They are licensed; they go through a rigorous process to become licensed.
Kevin Reilly: Medical schools seem like an obvious choice, but there’s a darker reasoning behind this.
Newscast: Revealing new details about a case of human body parts sold on the black market. A private company was selling body parts from bodies that had been donated?
Kevin Reilly: There’s a whole cottage industry of “body brokers.”
Newscast: Some U.S. companies are making a fortune by selling human bodies that were donated to science.
Kevin Reilly: A Reuters investigation revealed that this often unregulated business is worth millions and rarely guarantees that your body is going to be used for what you hope for.
Wiederhorn: Really, if you want to ensure that your body is going to go for educational purposes, because that’s what most people want to do. They want to be able to help train the next era of physicians. So, the best place to do that is to a medical school. Every single one of our, we have 16 medical schools in New York. Every single one of them has a donor program.
Kevin Reilly: Dr. Jeffrey Laitman is the Director of Anatomy and Functional Morphology at the Icahn School of Madison at Mount Sinai. This is where my body will wind up. But I needed to know why these schools really wanted my body.
Dr. Jeffrey Laitman: The laying on of hands is a sacred trust, a very, very special thing to do. That process begins in the first day of an anatomy class. It’s a very difficult thing for a student to do. In our culture, we refer to the cadaver as one’s first patient.
Kevin Reilly: But with all the advances in technology, from VR to animatronics, why do they need to use real bodies?
Mark Bailey [Student]: Everything up to this point is very conceptual: PowerPoint slides, drawings in books. And this is the first time you see a tangible representation of humanity and how we’re going to treat them.
Kevin Reilly: The students dissect cadavers in their first anatomy classes, practicing on human bodies before they ever step into a surgery room. And even experienced doctors continue to use cadavers.
Laitman: Other things can be helpful. And you can learn from models and computer programs and all sorts of wonderful adjuncts. But the key of medicine as long as you’ll be treating real people is gonna be learning from real people.
Grace Mosley [Student]: The body is not just a box that has organs in it. Everything’s not always in the same place. Within the course we have oral exams in which the teaching assistants will come around and ask us questions about all of the different structures that we should have dissected or learned the names of. And my first oral exam, I was so nervous. But I felt calmer than expected, and I realized at the end of the test that I had actually been holding my cadaver’s hand, which was somewhat horrifying but strangely comforting.
Kevin Reilly: And if you’re wondering what happens to the cadavers once they’re done with them …
Laitman: And when the course is over, the remains are then either cremated or buried, depending upon the wishes of the deceased.
Kevin Reilly: Each year, many of the schools hold special ceremonies honoring the donors. Here at the University of Buffalo, friends and family were invited to join the students and doctors. That’s right, I get a service, burial or cremation, and I’m helping to train doctors. Cost? Zero. It’s covered by the school.
Now, to be clear, donating your body to science is different from being an organ donor on your license. With whole-body donation, the organs are kept intact. Students need all the parts to learn about the whole body. So the only thing left to do is mail out the form, because when I go, this is going to science.
If you want to find out more about whole-body donation, call your local medical school. Or use this full list of programs put together by the Anatomical Board of the State of Florida.
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
Sheba Ebhote, the daughter of a Guyanese immigrant, grew up in Brooklyn, where she saw her family struggle to get their health-care needs met. A cultural disconnect between her family members and their doctors led to poor medical care.
That experience motivated Ebhote to become a doctor who would serve members of her community. But she soon discovered pursuing a career in medicine was fraught with obstacles and barriers, particularly for individuals traditionally underrepresented in medicine.
African Americans and Latinos, who together make up 31% of New York’s population, are only 12% of the state’s physician workforce. Making matters worse, for some groups, like black males, the number enrolled in medical school has actually declined over the past four decades: The number of black male medical students statewide went from 548 students in 1978 to 515 in 2014.
Those of us who work at all levels of education, health care and government have a collective responsibility to help more underrepresented students find the path to and through medical school.
This is not just about equal opportunity.
Diversity in medicine is key to improving the health of New Yorkers. Data shows that when patients and physicians are from similar backgrounds and speak the same language, health outcomes improve. This is due to longer patient visits, increased patient satisfaction and improved adherence to treatment.
Doctors from racial and ethnic backgrounds typically underrepresented in medicine are also significantly more likely to practice primary care, and to practice in areas federally designated as medically underserved.
But many obstacles exist along the path to becoming a physician for students such as Ebhote.
High school and college advisors have misconceptions about the medical school application process and the qualifications that are needed to enter medical school. Those misconceptions often deter students from applying. In addition, the cost of medical school tuition — the median level of debt for the class of 2017 was $192,000, not including accrued interest — is often used as a rationale for suggesting a student take a different career path.
There are other challenges. In college, Ebhote found that her high school curriculum had not prepared her to tackle pre-med courses. Her grades left her at a competitive disadvantage when applying to medical school.
The solution for students like her is simple: Access to medical school pipeline programs that provide academic enrichment and mentoring.
The Associated Medical Schools of New York, which I lead, has overseen successful pipeline programs since 1985. AMSNY’s Diversity in Medicine Program, which is supported by the New York State Department of Health, has enabled over 450 students from economically or educationally underserved areas to become doctors.
The programs help students prepare academically for medical school and provide them with the support and guidance they need to navigate the preparation and application process.
When New York Medical College saw Ebhote’s passion and potential, they offered her a conditional acceptance upon successful completion of the post-bac program. Earlier this fall, she donned a white coat as a student of the NYMC class of 2021.
But these programs aren’t enough. The cost of medical school and the ensuing debt remain major obstacles for underrepresented students. Schools in New York provide generous scholarships based on need, but they can’t fill the gap alone.
Earlier this year, New York State, thanks particularly to members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, seeded a new scholarship program with a $500,000 investment.
A group of students underrepresented in medicine are each getting $42,000 paid towards their tuition. For those attending state school, the scholarship covers the full tuition cost. The scholarship lifts the financial barrier to medical school enrollment.
But it has only been funded for one year. The dearth of diversity in medicine suggests we need a long-term investment in scholarships and increased support for pipeline programs. We hope we can count on the state to fill the gap.
Wiederhorn is president of the Associated Medical Schools of New York.
The average doctor now graduates with about $175,000 in medical school debt – a major roadblock for many considering medical careers, especially blacks and Latinos. But a new state scholarship program aims to reduce the burden to help more students of color become physicians. Bronx reporter Erin Clarke has the story.
By Capital Tonight Staff | October 9, 2017 @4:11 PM
A state-sponsored scholarship is helping its first round of med students reduce their debts and make the medical field more diverse. The Associated Medical Schools of New York says having the demographics of the profession match the demographics of the state means better results for patients here. And so the group is pushing to make sure the scholarship stays funded. We talked to Jo Wiederhorn from the association and Assemblyman Crystal Peoples-Stokes about how to do that.
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.
The program director of the state’s first program designed to diversity New York’s physician workforce has been recognized with a staff award of excellence for promoting inclusion and cultural diversity at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo. The 27-year-old post-baccalaureate program, supported by the Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) and UB’s medical school, has produced more than 400 successful graduates who otherwise would not have attended medical school.
Jaafar M. Angevin, post-baccalaureate program coordinator, Office of Medical Education in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, received the award during the school’s Faculty and Staff Recognition Awards.
Angevin was described as “the face of the medical school’s highly successful and often unsung post-baccalaureate program, which the medical school has hosted for a quarter of a century, and whose mission is to promote diversity in the physician workforce.”
At the event, Margarita Dubocovich, PhD, senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion, said: “Jaafar works tirelessly with the students in the program, helping to ensure their success and making sure they stay on track. Not only does he organize the program, but he is a cheerleader, a shoulder to cry on sometimes and an all-around counselor to the students. He is a major contributor to the overall success of the program.”
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 providestudents 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