Summit for Young Black Men Considering Health Careers Draws More Than 110 — Some from Columbia, S.C.
On Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, an estimated 110 high school and college-aged black men and family members gathered at Meharry Medical College to hear advice and encouragement toward successfully pursuing a career as a physician, dentist, nurse or other health care professional.
The event, “Navigating the Pre-Health Path: An Event for Black Men Interested in the Health Professions,” was presented by Meharry, the Meharry Vanderbilt Alliance and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The gender focus—specifically on black men—is part of a “pipeline” effort to stem the trend of declining numbers among black males studying to become physicians and dentists in America today.
Presenters, including Meharry President and CEO James E.K. Hildreth Sr., Ph.D., M.D., and André Churchwell, M.D., chief diversity officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center and senior associate dean for diversity affairs for Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, discussed the many challenges—socially, institutionally and financially—that black men have faced historically in their quest for a health care career. While those challenges may have lessened in more recent decades, they still exist, presenters said. Intense focus on well-rounded study with particular emphasis on science and math skills was urged, along with the important element of developing mentor relationships among those in the professions.
While the seminar attracted many from Nashville-Davidson County and surrounding environs, attendees came from as far away as Memphis, Tennessee; Atlanta, Georgia and Columbia, South Carolina.