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Statistics have reported over the years that Black males lag behind their white counterparts when it comes to becoming health care professionals. The situation has gotten so bad that the Federation of Association of Schools of the Health Professions (FASHP) has declared the small number of historically under-represented men of color graduating and entering the healthcare professions a national crisis.

The FASHP declared the crisis based on data from the American Dental Association revealing of the 6,665 U.S. dental school graduates in 2022, only 147 were Black men. Of the 21,051 2021-2022 U.S. medical school graduates, only 565 were African American males, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. The 2021 graduating class of veterinary medical students included 0.6% Black men. Of the 824, 2021-2022 U.S. public health doctoral graduates, only 2.5% were African American males, according to the Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health.

Plus, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health agencies consistently show that Black men suffer higher rates of diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and heart attacks than whites.

In its consensus statement, the FASHP calls on local and national educational, health care, governmental and community leaders to raise awareness regarding the dearth of Black men in the health care professions.

The encouragement of Black males to enter the health professions should begin in elementary school and continue through middle school. Black boys should have exposure to health care careers through field trips to medical facilities and the chance to interact with professionals.

In high school, Black male teenagers must study the physical sciences and higher mathematics such as calculus to prepare for higher education pre-health care professions courses. In college, Black males should receive encouragement to participate in programs such as the Action Collaborative for Black Men in Medicine or the Summer Health Professions Education Program to further their education.

Getting Black males into the health professions must start early in their lives and be supported by educational and governmental leaders. It is not only in the best interest of Black males, but all Americans to have competent, diverse health care professionals.

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