Sunday, July 7, 2019

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Fewer black males applied to medical school in 2014 than in 1978. That is the first line in the introduction to BMWC's new documentary film Black Men in White Coats Rise Up. 

When I first heard those words, and the statistics that BMWC's founder Dr. Dale Okorodudu lays out about the dearth of black men in medicine, I was saddened, but not surprised. For almost a year now, Dr. Dale has documented the stories of black men in medicine using a powerful podcast format that has brought the voices of black men in medicine together, and highlighted both the deeply personal nature of a journey in medicine, and some deeply troubling commonalities in the stories these black men share. Through the podcast, I have heard brilliant physicians and surgeons share their triumphs in achieving educational excellence, medical competence, and answering the highest calling of service by caring for their patients. From the same voices however, I've also heard stories of overcoming a lack of educational resources and role models, undeserved criticisms and hardships imposed by seniors and peers, and banal racial animus and ignorance from people who would rather see these great men fail. From it all, I've drawn inspiration and strength from the knowledge that these men have pushed through.

Student Doctor Yomi Adeyemi on BMWC Podcast

A few months ago, I had the honor of adding my voice to those from whom I have drawn so much inspiration. You all know that I've always tried to share my thoughts through writing, but Dr. Dale's podcast was the first opportunity I've had to speak about my story in a public way. In reflecting on the path that brought me this far, I had to confront the memories of some tough times in my life, and come to terms with how I overcame significant obstacles. I'm thankful for that experience; it's helped me to understand the type of person I really am, and my core motivations.

 Diverse Medicine e-mentoring platform

Black Men in White Coats goes much further than just sharing stories through a podcast.Via an innovative web based eMentoring model, in partnership with DiverseMedicine Inc (DMI), they have brought mentoring to the age of technology, making it possible for students who otherwise would have no guidance to gain much needed insights into pursuing a career in medicine. Anyone interested in medicine or the allied health fields can sign up here, and gain access to crucial advice and guidance.

In 2017, Dr. Dale published the best selling book How to Raise a Doctor.  In this book, he interviewed over 75 parents of physicians and found a very important theme. These parents understood what it took for their children to gain admission into medical school, and guided them along that path. Dr. Dale identified a key reason for failure to gain admission to medical school as lack of parental involvement in the higher education process. It became clear that in order for more students to gain admission, it would be necessary for their parents to receive the guidance on how they could do so.

Understanding that the greatest success comes when both students and parents are involved, Involving Parents developed a coaching strategy to equip both parties.  The process emphasizes educating  parents on the specific career path their child is on, equipping them to serve as their child’s number one adviser, and getting the student on an individualized development plan that will lead to academic and professional success.
Interested parents can set up a plan that will best suit their needs and goals.

Dr. Dale has been helping to address the shortage of black men in medicine by mentoring students and building coalitions of like minded professionals for more than 15 years. Still, the problem persists, and what is needed now is to increase awareness of the situation by helping this message reach an even wider audience. To that end, BMWC has a kickstarter to produce a feature length documentary film with three main goals:
1) Demolish the false stereotypes of black men in America and show the world that we have plenty to offer society
2) Explore the reasons why there are so few black male doctors and the implications of this tragedy
3) Provide inspiration and hope for diverse youth and their families

You can help make this documentary a reality by pledging any amount towards the kickstarter project here. This is just the beginning.

For more info about Dr. Dale or BMWC, just click through the text and image links throughout this article, or check out the links below:

About BMWC
About Dr. Dale
How to Raise a Doctor
Kickstarter: Black Men in White Coats Rise Up!


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