Last Updated on February 28, 2008 by Paulette Brown-Hinds


The Training of African Americans Physicians and Biomedical Scientists


ImageOn Thursday, March 6, 2008, Black Voice News columnist Dr. Ernest C. Levister Jr. will be speaking at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) in 1208 Olmsted Hall, from 5pm to 6:30pm.  Dr. Levister is the first speaker in a series focusing on health disparities in the African American community.  The title of his talk is “Impacting Health Care Disparities A Case for Diversity:  University of California Riverside”.  He will address barriers to the training of African American physicians and biomedical scientists at UCR, as well as nationally.  Dr. Levister is an Internal Occupational Medicine physician in San Bernardino, CA, and the Chair of the James Wesley Vines, Jr. M.D. Foundation.

Health disparities have been documented in the United States for over 100 years. In 1906, W. E. DuBois reported, in The Philadelphia Negro, an excess of Black (compared to White) deaths from heart disease, stillbirths, consumption, and other ailments. In the mid 1980s, Dr. Margaret Heckler, then Secretary of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, commissioned a special task force to investigate the excessive death rate of Black Americans. And, again in 2003, the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) landmark report, Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare, presented clear evidence that Black Americans receive differential treatment in healthcare and that this differential treatment results in adverse health outcomes. 

According to Dr. Carolyn B. Murray, the series’ coordinator, “this situation has worsened with an epidemic of increasing obesity within the African American community.”  Dr. Murray also points out that “both the causes and the solutions are complex, ranging from life style choices to a racist health care delivery system.”

Throughout 2008, the series will feature other speakers and activities designed to inform, mobilize, and address this life-threatening issue. The series is free to the public.