Since the 1960s, we have made incredible strides in this country regarding racial equality. That tumultuous decade and the ensuing years resulted in a tremendous amount of growth and diversity in America. Healthcare and medical education for URMs saw a significant improvement. However, over the past 20 years, we have stalled. While the world has become more interconnected with the internet, this has also exposed the wide disparities in access to medical care, quality of care and medical education.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the entire world, in real-time, the inequities in healthcare. Here, in the U.S., we have seen that communities of color are more comfortable and have more trust when physicians look like them, speak their language and are a trusted part of their community. We now are at a crossroads in medical education, especially in Arizona. Our College of Medicine-Phoenix (COM-P) strives to reflect in our student body the communities we serve.
One of the main barriers to the enrollment of URM students at COM-P is cost. The goal of this initiative is to help students from groups underrepresented in medicine pursue careers as physicians and to eliminate the stress that accompanies overwhelming student loan debt. Your philanthropic gifts enable COM-P to become one of a small number of medical schools nationwide that have established this kind of life-changing scholarship program for students of diverse backgrounds.
So, we call on donors like you to help us create better opportunities for our students and better healthcare for Arizonans.
Wayne J. Franklin, MD
Professor, University of Arizona, College of Medicine-Phoenix