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Kansas nonprofit works to bring diversity to medical field

Words by Tess Becker

Despite making up about 12% of the US population, Black people make up less than 6% of doctors. Diversity issues aside, studies show Black patients have safer and more successful outcomes with Black doctors – and that at least among some doctors a racial bias exists for pain assessment. 

To address this in Kansas, one nonprofit empowers Black people trying to make their way into the profession.

The nonprofit, Mission Vision KC, supports Black people trying to become medical professionals in many ways, like providing financial assistance for students to take the preparation courses necessary for the costly U.S. Medical Licensing Examination process.

They also send doctors and other professionals to local schools to drum up interest in the field.

“Once you open their eyes and help them see this opportunity, they need mentorship, they need to see people who can help them navigate the pathway to get into medical school, navigate the pathway to be successful in medical school, navigate the pathway to graduate and go on to residency,” Dr. Michael Weaver, the first Black student to graduate as a physician from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, and cofounder of Mission Vision KC said.

Eventually, they want to help create full-ride scholarships for potential medical students in the area, turned away from the field primarily because of its exorbitant cost. 

“One of the other things that we want to do is to help raise full-ride scholarships for underrepresented minorities here in Kansas City,” Michael Weaver said. “Because what happens is that the big schools on the east and west coast offer full-ride scholarships to our talented students. And they go there and they don’t ever come back.”

As an organization, they’re looking to expand into other doctoral fields like dentistry, pharmacy, and nursing, and then eventually expand the model into other places around the country. Find out how you can support.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Good Health and Wellbeing.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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