A touring conference aimed at increasing diversity in the medical field made a stop at IU’s Bloomington campus on Thursday.
The Tour 4 Diversity is a conference that travels the country giving minority students a chance to interact with professional mentors. Students can attend sessions addressing the medical school application process, admissions testing and tips for successful interviewing.
Rachel Tolen is the Pre Medical Advisor at IU’s Health Professions and Prelaw Center. Her group worked with students to bring the tour to campus.
“We have a very active Minority Association of Premedical Students Chapter on our campus and some of the students with that organization travelled to a conference in Georgia last year and met the organizers of the Tour 4 Diversity and invited them to come,” Tolen says.
IU is one of only six stops for this year’s tour.
Dr. Kameron Mathews is a family physician working in Chicago. Her own experiences attempting to break into the medical field led her to co-found the Tour 4 Diversity. She says it is important for under-represented minority groups to increase their presence in medical fields to reflect the diversity of the population.
“So those underrepresented minorities are African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans,” Mathews said. “Particularly within the African American Community, although we’re 12 percent of the nation we’re only 3 percent of practicing physicians, so that, in and of itself is alarming and it’s actually even less for Latinos and Native Americans.”
Dr. Mathews said studies show persons of color are more likely to follow care instructions given by a minority physician.