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Nonprofit encourages Black youths to become doctors practicing medicine with summit

Nonprofit aims to increase the number of Black doctors practicing medicine
Nonprofit aims to increase the number of Black doctors practicing medicine 03:14

OAKLAND -- A national organization looking to diversify and increase the number of African American male doctors in the medical field on Monday promoted its goals with an event in the Bay Area.

The nonprofit called Black Men In White Coats focuses on exposing young black boys through mentorship and exposure to doctors who look like them. On Monday, the group held a youth summit at Merritt College.

The summit consisted of a full day of hands-on activities with Black doctors sharing their journey, mentorship, and lessons on the field of healthcare.

One of the students in the group is a middle schooler, Zim Jackson, a 4.0 student who said becoming a doctor wasn't on his radar until now.

"It's cool to see African American doctors, because you don't usually see that when you walk into a hospital," Jackson said.

Each student participant spent the day donning their own white coats and learning from Bay Area medical professionals like Dr. Michael Green, a local oncologist.

"Within the field of medicine, Black men are underrepresented," said Green. "Less than 3% of physicians are black in general and less than half of that are men. So to see these young Black boys interested in coming into the health care field globally or advancing their career in medicine, it warms my heart."

In 2013, the Association of American Medical Colleges reported the number of African-American men applying to medical school was low and declining.

Black Men In White Coats founder Dr. Dale Okorodudu, says those low numbers are why he created the organization.  And he hopes to increase and change them.

"Even if they don't choose to become doctors, we are here to help the to become successful in life, period," Dr. Okorodudu said.

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