Dallas Doctor Creates Virtual Handshake For Minority Pre-Med Students, Medical Schools

“Students of color are more likely to choose primary care and family practice as a specialty, and this is where the need is greatest.”

By Lauren SilvermanApril 19, 2017 9:30 am, ,

From KERA News

A national study a few years back revealed something shocking about black men in medical school: There were fewer in 2014 than in 1978. Med school recruiters are trying to step up their game, and one Dallas doctor has a tool that could help.

‘Black men in white coats’

Dr. Dale Okorodudu knows two worlds: basketball and medicine. You can often find him on the court of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano with his son, Tony. Okorodudu says making it as a professional ball player, like making it as a doctor, requires dedication, mentorship and practice. Unlike basketball though, medical school recruiters don’t come to you.

“It’s very difficult to get recruited,” he says. “You try to go to these recruitment fairs that happen all across the country. But that costs time, that costs money, and the vast majorities of students just can’t do that, right?”

In 2011, only 6.1 percent of medical school matriculants were black and 8.5 percent were Hispanic, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Okorodudu has been on a mission to get more underrepresented students interested in becoming doctors. A few years ago he began a series of videos called “Black Men In White Coats.

 A ‘Match.com’ for pre-med students

And while the videos were a success, Okorodudu realized inspiration alone doesn’t provide the direct connection students need to apply. That’s why he launched an online recruitment tool called PreMed Star. It links students interested in medical school with people in admissions, like Dr. Cedric Bright at the University of North Carolina.

“I’m excited because it’s a virtual platform,” Bright says.

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