At the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, typically there are 16-20 African Americans in each entering class of 150 students. This year there are only four Black men.
The Gateway Medical Society in Pittsburgh promotes health care among minority populations in southwestern Pennsylvania. One of its main goals is to increase the pipeline of young men into the medical profession. The society has established the Journey to Medicine academic mentorship program in an effort to increase the number of young African American males who consider a career in medicine.
Fifteen African American male students from sixth grade classes in Pittsburgh area schools are chosen for the program each year. They are recommended by their elementary school principals and must have strong academic records in science and mathematics. Once they join the Journey to Medicine program, the young African American students participate in regular educational activities and each participant is paired with a physician mentor. Now in its second year, the Gateway Medical Society hopes to keep each group together through high school and college, steering them towards careers in medicine.
The program is supported by funding from the Heinz Foundation, the Pace Foundation, Highmark, and the Allegheny County Medical Society.