News & Announcements

Advocating for Change: 73% Surveyed Health Care Workers See Disparities in Care of BIPOC Patients

Logo with a red, orange and purple star. Text reads National Medical Fellowships

ALEXANDRA, Va., June 27, 2024  — Nearly three out of four health care workers surveyed in exploratory research say they have witnessed disparities in the care of patients of color, according to findings by National Medical Fellowships (NMF), a renowned institution committed to supporting underrepresented students in medicine and health care professions. The non-profit conducted a survey deploying convenience and purposive sampling among its alumni and scholars to gain insight into the impact and experiences of physicians of color in health care settings.

The survey revealed nearly 73% of participants acknowledged witnessing disparities in the care of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) patients, highlighting the need for increased awareness and action in health care settings. Less than half of respondents – 44% – agreed most of their colleagues perceive and understand disparities in health care. The survey also revealed 21% of respondents have left a job due to racial discrimination or bias.

“The firsthand observation of these disparities is truly disheartening, and it serves as a strong motivation for NMF and its community of alumni and scholars to advocate for much-needed change within the health care system,” said Michellene Davis, Esq., President and CEO of NMF. “While we have long understood there exists unequal access to care and the varying levels of treatment available to different communities, having it evidenced so starkly in our research has only heightened our resolve.”

The survey found 87% of participants supported NMF’s efforts to dismantle structural and systemic racism, emphasizing the importance of diversity in the health care workforce. Additionally, 75% of respondents strongly agreed on the urgent need to increase the presence of physicians of color to enhance outcomes for underserved communities, showcasing the critical role NMF plays in diversifying health care.

In fact, 86% of respondents acknowledged that NMF has played a crucial role in easing the financial burdens associated with medical education, with more than half (51%) of respondents saying they utilized NMF scholarships not only for tuition but also for living expenses, highlighting the vital need for support beyond educational fees.

NMF surveyed 66 alumni of its scholarship programs, along with 65 current scholars, to better understand how their experiences related to their medical education, training, practice, and employment, with a special focus on their mental health and wellbeing.

The survey represents a diverse cross-section of NMF’s national community. Two-thirds of respondents (67.67%) identified as female; one-third, male (32.33%). The survey included racially and ethnically diverse participants from various age groups, with significant representation in the Gen Z and Millennial generations, and the majority of respondents were Black/African American or Hispanic/Latin.

The survey indicated two-thirds (66.67%) of respondents agreed there has been progress in health care toward achieving diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), with 71% saying their role as a BIPOC physician positively impacts health care outcomes.

The NMF alumni and scholar survey underscores the critical importance of DEI in the health care sector, providing valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities faced by physicians of color.

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About National Medical Fellowships
National Medical Fellowships, Inc. is the only private national organization devoted to providing scholarships and support for students underrepresented in medicine and the health professions. Founding in 1946 as one of the first diversity organizations in the U.S., NMF has since provided over $45 million to more than 32,000 students and aspiring health professionals.