Howard Resident Physicians Introduce Columbia Heights Students to Careers in Medicine

November 6, 2015
Contact: Joong Kim, 706-264-7862 or Heather Appel, 917-886-3651

Washington, DC — On Monday, Nov. 9, at least 100 high school and middle school students at Columbia Heights Educational Center will hear from Howard University Hospital resident physicians about why they decided to become doctors, what the process is like, and what obstacles they encountered along the way.

For many of the 260 resident physicians training at Howard University Hospital, the path to medical school was not easy to navigate. While some come from a family of physicians, others are trailblazers in their communities and had to seek out their own role models in the field of medicine. Today’s generation of residents hopes to change that for local DC youth, by meeting with students and sharing their firsthand experiences.

At-Large DC Council Member Elissa Silverman said of this event, “Opportunities like these reinforce for our students the importance of committing to their education as a pathway to achieving their goals and exploring new career opportunities.”

The Howard residents are part of the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR/SEIU Healthcare), a national union dedicated to uniting physicians for a stronger voice to improve their work conditions and their patients’ access to quality care. The Howard resident physicians voted to unionize in January 2015 and are in the process of negotiating their first contract.

In the United States, African Americans represent 12.8% of the population but only 3.3% of the physician workforce, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. In fact, this trend is getting worse. Fewer black men applied for medical school in 2014 than did in 1978. Studies have shown the correlation between a more diverse and representative physician workforce and improved access to care, increased patient satisfaction, and broader achievements in culturally competent care, all factors which can ameliorate persistent health disparities. Howard residents are particularly motivated to ensure the physician pipeline of tomorrow yields better outcomes than the pipeline of today by addressing these students well in advance of when they need to make decisions around higher education.

“Ensuring that diverse and talented students continue to be attracted to medicine will go a long way toward making sure we can meet the health demands of society in the future,” said DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson about the career day.

With members coming together from all over the country and the world, across specialties, CIR represents a uniquely diverse physician workforce. The residents speaking with students on Monday come from a range of different backgrounds and medical specialties, including General Surgery, Internal Medicine, and Orthopedic Surgery. Podiatry and Pharmacy programs may also be represented.

The resident physicians will speak to pre-college students during 4th period science classes from 2-3:15 on Nov. 9 and will be available for interviews afterwards. Columbia Heights Educational Center is located at 3101 16th St NW.