Few New Jersey Physicians Are Minorities; Education, Poverty Cited as Factors
The West Patterson Herald News on Tuesday examined the low proportion of physicians in New Jersey who are minorities. According to a study by the Rutgers University Center for State Health Policy, which used 2002 Census data, 75% of New Jersey physicians are white, while 15% are Hispanic, fewer than 3% are black and 2% are Asian.
Blacks in particular are less likely than other groups to apply to and matriculate from medical school, according to the Herald News. In 2006, blacks represented 7% of medical school graduates nationwide, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. In addition, about 800 black women entered medical schools in 2006, nearly double the number of black men.
While there is no definite answer to explain the shortage of black doctors in particular, the Herald News points to factors including inequalities in education and poverty. Lower numbers of minority physicians can result in fewer providers working in minority communities and the potential for barriers in doctor-patient communication, the Herald News reports (Querna, West Patterson Herald News, 7/31).