On Tuesday, November 1st, hundreds of Tulsa Public Schools students attended Black Men in White Coats youth summit for the first time at the University of Tulsa. The event gave students exposure, mentors, and access to resources in the medical field, and could potentially help close a racial gap. The number of Black men in the medical field has dropped by an astonishing 15% since 1970. Today, Black men make up only 2% of medical school students.
Dr. Andre Fredieu with Hillcrest says that is because of a lack of resources. “I think a lot of it had to do with a lack of resources,” Fredieu said. “Some of the schools that we have in the area that are predominantly African American deal with a lack of resources compared to schools in more affluent areas.”
Black Men in White Coats wants to change that. Today, more than 200 students got the chance to put on a white coat and roll up their sleeves to get some hands-on practice in the medical field, with plastic mannequins. Students had access to 20 hands-on clinical stations, panel discussions, and could network with other students who shared a passion for medicine.
“Literally we’re gonna put them in the middle of a hospital experience to figure out what it's like to be page, being able to find out what a clinical skill is and then have to reset and go on to the next event really quickly,” Dr. Chris McNeil, founder of Black Men in White Coats Tulsa chapter, said.
While the event is named Black Men in White Coats, it was not exclusive to Black men. In fact, it was open to all races and genders. “I feel so professional,” Bryann Brown, a junior at Central High School, said. “It’s just crazy to think that I might actually be wearing one of these one day.”
By Mckenzie Richmond, KTUL Staff
Dr. McNeill is a resident member of Tulsa County Medical Society and Oklahoma State Medical Association and a 2018 recipient of the Charles James Bate Memorial Scholarship Award. For more information about this program, please contact Dr. McNeil at firstname.lastname@example.org.