Why do African-Americans account for a small percentage of healthcare professionals

Why do African-Americans account for a small percentage of healthcare professionals like Doctors and Pharmacists in the U.S.?

The US is an increasingly racially and ethnically diverse society. In

other words, U.S is a country that is endowed with a rich multiplicity of races and ethnicities and

it is rapidly racially and ethnically becoming diverse. Demographic figures available show that

U.S minority populations are growth at a higher rate than the majority white population (Cohen,

Gabriel and Terrell 91). African Americans comprise one the major minority communities that

are increasing at faster pace than the majority white population. Statistics from 2000 census

show that while United States’ white population increased by 9%, African American population

grew by approximately 28 percent (Cohen, Gabriel and Terrell 91). The vast majority of present

African American population traces its origins to African slaves traded during slavery and slave

trade from Africa. The heritage of slavery, discrimination and racism has continuously

influenced the socio-economic status of this American community. Today, virtually 25 % of

African-Americans are poor, and their overall per capita income is much lesser than that of the

majority white population. Even though, promotion of racial and ethnic diversity of the health

care field is significant for better provision of culturally proficient health care to U.S minority

populations, African Americans are still largely underrepresented in health care professions.

Various reasons whose roots can traced within the American history accounts for lack of African

American in health care professions like pharmacy and medicine. The following discussion

summarizes these reasons, identifies steps that can be taken to increase the proportion of African

American in health care professions and recommends how policies towards that end should be


Education is certainly one of the major factors that account for lack of adequate African-

American health care field. According to a recent study conducted by Jessica Howell et al in

2010 lack African American health care professionals like doctors and pharmacists can be traced

basically to pre-college educational factors.


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