Breaking the Cycle of Poverty: The Key to Better Serving the Whole Child Mark A. Piasio, MD President Pennsylvania Medical Society
Economic status matters… College-aged persons from lower income homes are: –Less likely to finish high school –Less likely to enter college –Less likely to earn a bachelor’s degree When compared to other college-aged persons The cards are stacked against them Think about it: How many of your colleagues came from low income families?
Specific ethnic groups affected most: Because poverty disproportionately affects certain ethnic groups There are fewer college graduates from those groups and thus… …fewer physicians African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and American Indians make up 25% of population… …but only 7% of physicians and 6% of medical school faculty Effect of poverty on whites is masked by high representation in college, professions
What can we do about this? Doctors and Lawyers together can: Put pressure on the public education system Promote mentorships and career training Invest in education grants and scholarships for low income kids Work toward education loan forgiveness programs Build a safety net for children
PA Medical Society Has established Task Force on Cultural Competency and Medical Diversity Will look at ways to encourage youths from low income to pursue medicine as a career Will explore strategies to make current physicians more aware of disparities Cultural competence will make medical careers seem more accessible