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Why Albert Einstein College of Medicine is leading the charge in incoming physician diversity

Albert Einstein College of Medicine is leading the charge in incoming physician diversity
Albert Einstein College of Medicine is leading the charge in incoming physician diversity 02:05

NEW YORK -- New data shows less than 6% of physicians in the country are Black and only about 7% are Hispanic, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx offers a program that puts an emphasis on adding more diversity in health care.

Marc Castillo has a chance to serve his community as an EMT. He just graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School and on Sunday got another diploma at Bronx HOPE's EMT graduation.

He is one of nine high school students from the Bronx who completed the inaugural Emergency Medical Technician Training Program led by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, which works with local schools. The graduates were surprised Sunday night with $500 each for completing the program, and when they pass the New York State EMS Certification Exam, they'll get $500 more, CBS New York was told.

The program is part of a five-year grant, which means Einstein will be welcoming a new class of EMT trainees in the fall.

Since the fall of 2023, Castillo has clocked more than 300 hours of hands-on experience to qualify to sit for the EMS exam and then work as an EMT.

"Very rare unique opportunity given to us and I'm so grateful," Castillo said.

"I have a passion to become an emergency physician and I knew joining a program like this would be a major stepping stone for me into the medicine field," Bronx Hope student Luna Romero-Paniagua said.

Bronx Hope's vision

Bronx Hope aims to help students from economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds to enter careers in health and medicine.

"Brilliance is everywhere but opportunity is not," said Dr. Lynne Holden, senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Opportunity is important for Holden. She's leading efforts to ensure the next generation of physicians is diverse.

"I would not be a physician if I did not have pathway programs," Holden said.

"There have been numerous studies that show that patients' trust in the system and in their providers, it's much higher if the providers represents their community," said Dr. Yaron Tomer, Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

The students have set their personal bars very high

"My goal is to become a neurosurgeon," Castillo said.

"I want to lean towards cardiology," student Adrian Yrrizarry added.

They said among their goals is practicing right here at home in the Bronx.

"I want to help grow my community," Yrrizarry said.

"I do want to give back. That would mean the world to me," Castillo said.

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