The United States is facing a critical absence of diversity in medicine, and the disproportionately low numbers of African-American doctors are causing negative health outcomes in communities across the country. Reflecting its commitment to improving diversity among the nation’s doctors, Ross University School of Medicine has entered into an agreement with Tuskegee University in Alabama to increase the number of African-American students who enter medical school at RUSM and ultimately become physicians. This educational pathway allows qualified Tuskegee students who earn full acceptance into the medical school to receive a scholarship covering full tuition for the first semester. These students will spend the first two years of medical school at the RUSM campus in Barbados.RUSM has a diverse student population with 51 percent of students being persons of color. With more than 14,000 alumni, RUSM graduates practice indirect patient care in all 50 states, including a high percentage of graduates who are in the essential field of primary care. African Americans make up only six percent1 of U.S. physicians. While most U.S. medical schools had an average of eight African-American graduates this past year, RUSM had more than 80.
Significantly greater representation in medicine is imperative to the health of our communities and our nation, and RUSM’s unique impact and portable lessons on medical school diversity promise to reduce health disparities,” said RUSM Dean and Chancellor, Dr. William F. Owen, Jr., M.D., FACP. “We are pleased to partner with Tuskegee University. By increasing the participation of underrepresented Americans in health education we promulgate an opportunity to share in social justice for health.”“This is an exciting partnership that I expect will yield tremendous dividends for everyone involved – especially for Tuskegee University’s students, whose broadening professional opportunities will also mean a more diverse medical workforce,” said Tuskegee University President Dr. Lily D. McNair. “I look forward to the wonderful opportunities for our students and our university, as Tuskegee gains a valuable academic partner.”“The Alabama Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs applauds Tuskegee University and Ross University School of Medicine for tackling the long-standing lack of diversity in medicine. The adverse effects stemming from a lack of access to care and the pervasiveness of health inequality have long been felt, not only across Alabama but nationwide,” said Nichelle Williams Nix, Director of Alabama’s Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs.