NEW ORLEANS, La. (WDSU) — Since the beginning of the pandemic, national data, even numbers here at home, prove how COVID-19 disproportionally affects Black people.
One local doctor is working overtime to change the face of medicine for the future.
Dr. Russell Ledet is a Navy veteran who received his Ph.D. in molecular oncology from New York University.
He’s expanding his medical knowledge, enrolled in both the MBA program and medical school at Tulane University.
He’s also working on getting a message out about a need for black doctors.
He started a non-profit called “The 15 White Coats,” something he helped put together after a picture of Black medical students from Tulane went viral in December of 2019.
“I think this pandemic essentially accentuated a problem that our country has had for a very long time in terms of health disparities. Having Black doctors, with Black patients, actually increases the quality of care. And I don’t think that’s the secret. You could also talk about the cultural context, as well as just the trust barrier that’s taken down,” Dr. Ledet said
The purpose of the nonprofit is to raise money for Black students and help them through the journey of medical school.
Ledet says there has not been a steep incline in Black people going to medical school in a really long time. He hopes to fix that issue.
“We really have to get to this point of acknowledging the ugly history of medicine in America. If we were to have more Black doctors around, at least if we were to think about the culture in the hospital, we would have some leaders around who could contextualize the importance of taking into account like the history of how Black people view medicine in America. If we just look at this as oh, like this is just a problem. No, no, this is a problem with minority people in medicine. We have to look at it that way,” he said.