LOS ANGELES – A recent UCLA study found that the proportion of physicians who are Black in the U.S. has remained essentially unchanged since 1940. In 2018, about 13% of the U.S. population was Black, but only 5.4% of physicians were Black. The documentary Black Men in White Coats seeks to increase the number of Black men in the field of medicine by bringing awareness to the issue. The Equity Council at L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan, supports the goal and is hosting a viewing and panel discussion on the documentary.
“Studies have shown that patients prefer doctors who share their same race or ethnicity, and when that’s the case, we know health outcomes improve,” said James Kyle, MD, L.A. Care Chief Equity and Quality Medical Director. “It’s important that we help draw attention to the gap that exists, and work to fill that gap.”
In 2018, L.A. Care launched Elevating the Safety Net, a five-year, $155 million initiative to address a physician shortage in the Los Angeles County safety net, those clinics and practices that serve the health plan’s low-income Medi-Cal beneficiaries. The majority of these members are people of color. Through provider recruitment grants, medial school loan repayment grants, residency support grants and medical school scholarships, Elevating the Safety Net aims to not only boost the number of physicians, but also the number of physicians of color.
“Black Men in White Coats lays out the various reasons for the low number of Black physicians, and by better understanding that, we can better address the issue,” said Kyle.
Black Men in White Coats will be available for viewing starting Monday, November 1 at 9:00 am through Thursday, November 4 at 9:00 am.
You can register to watch the documentary here.
- Enter your email address.
- Click “Get My Passcode”.
- A passcode will be emailed to you, which you will use to access the film.
The panel discussion will be held via WebEx on November 4 between 10:00 am and noon. You can register for the panel discussion here.
Panelists will include:
- Oliver Brooks, MD; Chief Medical Officer, Watts HealthCare Corporation
- Deborah Deas, MD, MPH; Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences, Mark and Pam Rubin Dean School of Medicine, University of California, Riverside
- Lisa Odigie, MPH; Founder, Black Doctors List
- Roberto Vargas, MD, MPH; Assistant Dean, Health Policy and Inter-Professional Education, College of Medicine; Director, Health Services Research and Policy Core, Urban Health Institute; Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
- Ehizele Robertson; L.A. Care Elevating the Safety Net Scholar
Attendees will be able to ask questions via chat at the end of the panel discussion. This project aligns with L.A. Care’s commitment to advancing health equity. L.A. Care believes that everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.
About L.A. Care Health Plan
L.A. Care Health Plan serves more than 2.4 million members in Los Angeles County, making it the largest publicly operated health plan in the country. L.A. Care offers four health coverage plans including Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Covered™, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan and the PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan, all dedicated to being accountable and responsive to members. As a public entity, L.A. Care’s mission is to provide access to quality health care for L.A. County's low-income communities, and to support the safety net required to achieve that purpose. L.A. Care prioritizes quality, access and inclusion, elevating health care for all of L.A. County. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.