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Racial makeup of U.S. doctors; does your doctor need to look like you?; nurse practitioners and physician assistants get more face time; integrative healthcare

Virus Outbreak-Boosters
Steven Senne/AP
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AP
Licensed practical nurse Yokasta Castro, of Warwick, R.I., draws a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a mass vaccination clinic ON Wednesday, May 19, 2021, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

The racial makeup of American doctors is overwhelmingly white.

According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, despite Black folks making up about 13% of the U.S. population, only 2.9% of medical school students in 2019-2020 are Black men. That’s fewer than when Jimmy Carter was president. Black women fared only slightly better, making up 5.2% of medical students nationwide.

In Florida, the statistics are comparable. According to a 2018 report on the physicians workforce from the Florida Department of Health, 5.4% of doctors were Black, representing a 1% increase over the past decade. Hispanic doctors represent 17.2% of all Florida doctors, about a 3% increase.

Guests:

  • Dr. Swapna Reddy, professor at Arizona State University and an expert in health disparities and policy.
  • Dr. Maisha Robinson, neurologist and palliative care doctor at the Mayo Clinic.

Does your doctor need to look like you?

New data suggests that your doctor’s race could affect the care you receive. For example, BIPOC people who receive care from a doctor who looks like them have better outcomes than those treated by a white provider.

Guest: Sheila Collins, Jacksonville, Florida resident, offer a patient’s perspective.

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants get more face time

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, significant changes were necessary to increase provider capacity to handle the number of patients seeking care.

In Florida and nationwide, policies were relaxed to allow nurse practitioners and physician assistants to practice more independently if they meet specific requirements. As a result, the number of nurse practitioners and physician assistants entering the workforce is expected to rise in the coming years.

Many patients are left wondering if they are receiving the same level of care from nurse practitioners and physician assistants as they would from their doctor.

Guest: Dr. Elaine Borne, executive director of the Student Health Center and a faculty member of the Nurse Practitioner Program at Jacksonville University’s Keigwin School of Nursing.

Integrative health care

With so many folks staying home during the pandemic, there has been a renewed interest in what we can do naturally, without doctors, to truly stay healthy.

Guest: Megan Weigel, a holistic alternative nurse practitioner with First Coast Integrative Medicine, joins us now with some tips.

Florida Roundup Associate Producer Katherine Hobbs can be reached at khobbs@wjct.org or on Twitter at @KatherineGHobbs.
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