Health and FitnessBy Asha | November 6th, 2012 | Category: Health and Fitness | No Comments »
Go Red For Women® Offers Scholarships to ease the burden and drive diversity in medicine. Tuition hikes at colleges and universities across the nation are putting the squeeze on many young people and forcing families to find new ways to pay for higher education or consider forgoing college altogether. In an effort to ease the burden to students during these rough economic times and increase the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine, the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women™ and Macy’s, its national sponsor, offer the Go Red™ Multicultural Scholarship Fund . Sixteen $2,500 national scholarships are being offered for a second year to multicultural women pursuing higher education in health care. As part of its Go Red For Women movement, the association strives to expand the pipeline of much-needed diverse nursing and medical students and address important gaps in treatment that can lead to heart health disparities. Deadline for entry is November 30, 2012. Recipients will be announced in February 2013. http://newsroom.heart.org/pr/aha/american-heart-association-offers-238376.aspx
I had the pleasure of speaking with physicians, Dr. Mieres and Dr. Holden to provide us with a broader perspective of the need for black women in the medical landscape and what the Go Red For Women scholarships mean to minority recipients going forward.
Briefly provide to our readers why you entered into the medical field? Why do you feel there are not enough minority physicians?
I entered the medical field because it fulfilled two of my passions-the ability to help others and the love of science.
Increasing awareness of healthy living is critical for all, but especially for many people in socio-economically disadvantaged areas. Minority health professionals can provide cultural competent ways of spreading healthy messages, being an advocate and providing quality care.
What changes do you hope take place to improve the statistics of young, minority girls entering into medical related careers?
There are three ways to improve the numbers of minority women entering a medically related career. First, the joy of learning science must be instilled early by building a strong academic foundation while allowing children to have fun. Next, students need to be exposed early to the wonderful opportunities provided by a biomedical career. Finally, young minority girls need to “see and hear” from minority women who enjoy their health career.
As a physician, what medical issues do you believe are not being addressed enough in more economically challenged areas?
Health disparities are rampant in economically challenged areas. The forerunner is cardiovascular disease such as hypertension and coronary artery disease. Educating the general public about living a healthy lifestyle within the parameters of their traditional practice is crucial. In addition, it is imperative for patients to practice preventative care, take prescribed medication, follow up regularly with a physician and seek emergency care without delay when necessary. Also, it is important to train health care practitioners on how to provide culturally competent care. Also, health providers must learn to recognize the sometimes atypical presentation of potentially serious illnesses such as myocardial infarction in women.
What message would you like to send in reference to the Go-Red Multicultural Scholarship program? How can we get more involved with both the education and medical aspect of The American Heart Association?
Even if the student has an interest to pursue a health career, the financial burden can be a major obstacle. The American Heart Association’s Go Red Multicutural Scholarship fund provides much needed financial assistance for students during many levels of their journey to becoming a health care provider. It reinforces the need to support students to help them achieve their dream. The scholarship also raises awareness of a potentially deadly and often unrecognized disease in women. Getting involved with the crusade to educate others about heart disease is essential to prevent further morbidity and mortality. Get started today by spreading the word in your own circles and living by example!
Dr. Lynne Holden bio: http://www.mylifetime.com/my-lifetime-commitment/remarkable-women/lynne-holden
We know that health care reform is a major topic on the political campaign trail. Why do you think it is necessary for more minorities to become physicians or enter in a medical related career?
There is a compelling body of evidence that supports the fact that in the US there are racial and ethnic disparities in quality of care and health outcomes. Patients of ethnic minority groups report less involvement in care, lower levels of trust in health care professionals, and less satisfaction with health care. The Institute of Medicine’s 2003 report Unequal Treatment suggested that several aspects of the patient–physician relationship contribute to racial and ethnic disparities in health care. There is specific mention that an increase of racial and ethnic diversity among physicians is associated with improved access to care for racial and ethnic minority patients. Therefore, as the population of the United states becomes more diverse, with Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans representing more than 25 percent of the U.S. population, the paucity of multi ethnic physicians (fact that only about 12 percent of physicians and 9 percent of nurses are of Hispanic, African American and native Americans) is a significant contributing factor to the disparities in care of ethnic minorities. If we are to provide high quality, safe and culturally competent care to all people, it is essential to foster workforce diversity in health care by funding programs that support the recruitment of minority students and medical faculty. In addition cultural competency training should be mandatory for all members of the health care community. Robust evidence indicates that overall, a racial and ethnically diverse health care team is of great importance in the delivery of care as well as leading to improved access to that care, greater health care choice and satisfaction for members of racial and ethnic minority groups.
Summary: The 2004 IOM report “In the Nation’s Compelling Interest: Ensuring Diversity in the Health-Care Workforce” clearly issues a call to action for us as a nation to increase diversity in the medical workforce so as to effectively treat increasingly diverse populations. It is important to have multilingual doctors and other medical professionals who are aware of the cultural practices and customs of diverse multicultural communities, and who are attuned to any special medical or health-care needs they may have.
As a physician do you feel an overwhelming responsibility to make sure that the percentages of minorities entering into medical related fields increases? What challenges do you believe they will face in terms of the health of our country?
As a physician of color, I am committed to the delivery of high quality, safe and culturally appropriate care for all and to the elimination of health care disparities. Given the compelling evidence linking a multicultural health care workforce with the delivery of high quality health care and access to health care for the underserved, it is my personal mission to be a role model and to be an active participant in the recruitment of ethnic minorities into all areas of health care.
Minority physicians will face the challenges of inspiring their patients to become partners in their health care. For their minority patients in particular, they will be facing the work of helping them overcome socioeconomic challenges to accessing health care as well as engaging their patients in being accountable for lifestyle changes to control chronic diseases that plague their communities.
What advice would you offer to young girls who live in less favorable conditions but express their dreams of becoming a doctor?
I would encourage young girls to apply and enroll in health care pipeline programs where they will have a chance to meet female physicians and medical students who can serve as mentors and role models. By allowing young girls from underprivileged backgrounds the opportunity to connect with minority female medical students, residents in training and minority female physicians, a foundation is laid for realization of the dream of becoming a doctor. The exposure and face-to-face interaction with experienced and energetic minority medical student and faculty who have successfully travelled the long path to medical school and beyond will allow them to say “yes this is possible for me too”.
What does the Go-Red Multicultural Scholarship program mean to you and how can we make more minority students aware of this opportunity?
As cardiologist, who has dedicated the last 10 years of my career to empowering women and especially women of color to be active participants in conquering heart disease, I am truly honored and privileged to have the opportunity to be an AHA volunteer and to have the chance to be part of a program that is actively involved in increasing future ranks of minority physicians
The American Heart Association is committed to the elimination of disparities in cardiovascular care and by providing the multicultural scholarship for young women; the commitment is taken one step further by enhancing the diversity health care pipeline. A campaign to make HBCU’s and native American colleges aware of the scholarship as well as the organizations that work with them would be one way of providing awareness of the scholarship. Working with various community youth organizations and women’s groups and organizations would be another.
Beautifully Said Magazine
Dr. Jennifer Mieres bio: http://www.slideshare.net/brucelee55/dr-mieres-biography
Please visit www.GoRedForWomen.org/goredscholarship for more information.
Photos provided by:
Lisa Ramirez-Johnson—National Associate Communications Manager Consumer Health Communications American Heart Association | American Stroke Association