BLACK doctors are “welcome” in white hospital systems, a prominent black medical organization has said, in a bid to reassure the community it is not an alien threat.
Black doctors make up one-third of the US population, and are often under-represented in the profession.
In the US, more than 20% of black doctors are white, and the majority of them are white.
However, the NAACP has been warning of the health problems black doctors could face if they left the hospital system and are replaced by less experienced white staff.
“I know that the medical community is not immune to racism,” said Dr. William G. “Billy” McBride, a member of the National Association of Black Physicians (NABP).
“It’s something that has been going on for decades.
It’s not something that’s just coming into our community.”
McBride, who is black, and his black colleagues have been at odds with some of the biggest hospitals in the US over issues such as segregation and access to drugs.
In an open letter published on the NAACP’s website, the organization called on white hospitals to “reconsider” their exclusionary practices.
“We want to thank the Black Physicians Association of America for a thoughtful and timely letter that has garnered significant attention.
Black doctors have had to contend with racial discrimination and underrepresentation in the health care system for many years,” McBride said in the letter.”
In order to be seen as ‘welcoming’ the medical profession to the American people, the institutions must do the right thing and stop discriminating against us.”
The letter was signed by a number of prominent black doctors including Dr. Henry Jenkins, Dr. Robert A. Brown, Dr, Richard D. Carter, Dr., Anthony A. Fortunato and Dr. Tommie Dickson.
McBride and other members of the group hope to “bring clarity to the debate” about their exclusion from hospitals and to “send a message to white hospitals that we are not an anomaly, and that we should be treated with respect.”
While the NAACP may not be directly representing the doctors, its members are trying to “make the case for us,” McBrides said.
He added that they “would love to work with any white hospital that could make a real difference.”
The NABP did not respond to a request for comment.