With primary care shortage looming, HBCU medical programs train students to give back to communities

The World

A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that medical students who graduate from Historically Black Colleges and Universities are more likely to practice primary care medicine in low-income communities, the exact area of care most needed in the country today. By 2020, six years after health care overhaul kicks in, there will be 35 million newly insured Americans, but a projected shortage of up to 100,000 primary care doctors. HBCUs like Morehouse, Howard and Meharry Medical College — the top ranked schools in the study — may be helping prevent the problem by training students to work in underserved communities upon graduation.

We talk with Wayne Riley, the president and CEO of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, about the curriculum his school provides that motivates students to practice primary care medicine in low-income communities. We also talk with Raolat Abdulai who graduated from Howard University’s College of Medicine this past May. While a student there, Abdulai started a free clinic in Washington, DC where seven percent of the population is uninsured.

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