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January 13, 1989

Preventing Twists, Turns on Road to Medical Education From Becoming Permanent Detours

JAMA. 1989;261(2):189-193. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420020015004

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ON THE LONG ROAD to the medical school campus, there are many twists and turns. If you are black, those twists are even more likely than for whites to become permanent detours. Observers both inside and out of the medical profession say that such a result lessens opportunities for today's aspiring young blacks and deprives tomorrow's black patients of medical care.

They are striving to clear the path, but they acknowledge that solutions are not easy. Childhood experiences, popular culture images, and the educational system are some of the factors that make the task of recruiting blacks into medicine daunting.

"Who are the guys with money, girls, and a car? The pimp, the pusher, or the athlete. It's perceived that you don't have to be very smart to be an athlete... it's much easier for a kid to perceive himself being tough rather than bright," says Preston R. Black, MD,