COMMONSPIRIT AND MOREHOUSE ADDRESSING UNDERREPRESENTED PHYSICIANS AND HEALTH EQUITY


ANALYSIS | BY CHRISTOPHER CHENEY| FEBRUARY 23, 2022


The health system and medical school have teamed up to increase the number of physicians who are people of color and to boost medical training in health equity, racial disparities, and healthcare access.


CommonSpirit Health and Morehouse School of Medicine have formed the More in Common Alliance, a 10-year, $100 million initiative to address health equity and expand medical education to build a more diverse physician workforce.


People of color are underrepresented in the physician ranks. For example, Black communities account for 12.4% of the population but account for only 5% of the physician workforce, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and CommonSpirit.


"Physicians who are Black make up 5% of the physician workforce. In terms of medical students who are Black, they make up 7% of medical students. There are other physicians and medical students of color such as Hispanics making up a significant group; but, in general, people of color are underrepresented in both our general provider community and in the training community in terms of medical students," says Gary Greensweig, DO, system senior vice president and chief physician executive of physician enterprise for Chicago-based CommonSpirit.


The dearth of physicians who are people of color has negative consequences for clinical care, he says. "When we look at our population, it is quite diverse and becoming more diverse. There is clear data that from a cultural standpoint, from a lived experience standpoint, and from a trust and outcomes standpoint that having people of color underrepresented in the healthcare provider space affects patients and contributes to health inequities and poor outcomes. In general, patients like to receive care from people who are similar."


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