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Erin Johnson

1415

Bold Points

1x

Finalist

Bio

As a second year student at the Tulane University School of Medicine pursuing a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree, I am writing to express my desire to apply for any scholarship opportunities to which I may be eligible. I believe lack of diversity in medicine is one of the greatest challenges in healthcare today. Lack of diversity in healthcare – especially regarding African American doctors, which only make up 6% of the US physician workforce – plays a continued role in racial and ethnic health disparities. I am disturbed by disparities in access to care and health outcomes according to socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic characteristics. I believe equal access to quality healthcare is a fundamental human right. Compounding the issue, the need for doctors in medically underserved areas is rising. The lack of primary health care providers in underserved communities has contributed significantly to the poor state of health of many Americans. Yet, the high cost of medical education keeps many new doctors from pursuing careers in primary care fields. This de-incentivization of primary care specialties is further harming our patient populations. If granted these scholarships, it would help reduce the financial burden of medical school so that I may pursue my goal of a career in primary care – focusing on helping communities that not only need quality, affordable care, but also need doctors that want to give back to the community through medicine and community service.

Education

Tulane University of Louisiana

Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)
2021 - 2025
  • Majors:
    • Medicine

Cornell University

Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)
2008 - 2016
  • Majors:
    • Neurobiology and Neurosciences

University of Missouri-Columbia

Bachelor's degree program
2000 - 2004
  • Majors:
    • Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology
  • Minors:
    • Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, Other

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Medicine
  • Planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Health, Wellness, and Fitness

    • Dream career goals:

      Director/Chief Medical Officer

    • Laboratory Coordinator

      Stowers Institute for Medical Research
      2016 – 20171 year
    • Post-Award Grants Administration Specialist

      Stowers Institute for Medical Research
      2017 – Present7 years

    Research

    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other

      University of Brighton (United Kingdom) — Graduate Student Researcher (MRes)
      2004 – 2006
    • Neurobiology and Neurosciences

      Cornell University — PhD Candidate
      2003 – 2008

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Saint Luke's Hospice House — Hospice Volunteer
      2018 – 2019
    • Volunteering

      KC STEM Alliance — Mentor
      2018 – 2020
    • Volunteering

      Amethyst House — Household Pantry Associate
      2019 – 2021
    • Volunteering

      KC Care Health Center — Medical Support Assistant
      2019 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Impact Scholarship for Black Students
    More than ever, physicians must be culturally aware and culturally competent in their everyday practice. Due to the effects of globalization, medical policies, financial constraints, and other factors, physicians are providing health care to an increasingly diverse and vulnerable society. This increased ethnic and cultural diversity within patient populations affects the way healthcare providers interact with patients and deliver care. Yet, even though the United States is growing more diverse by the day, the vast majority of physicians are White—56.2 percent. In contrast, 17 percent of physicians are Asian, 5.8 percent are Hispanic, five percent are Black, and 0.3 percent are American Indian or Alaska Native. Lack of diversity in healthcare continues to be a major factor in health disparities is communities of color and one that critically contributes to the increased morbidity and mortality among black people. The U.S. healthcare system in beset with inequalities that disproportionately affect people of color and other marginalized groups. These inequalities contribute to gaps in health insurance coverage, quality of care received, uneven access to services, and poorer health outcomes among marginalized populations. African Americans bear the brunt of these health care challenges. African Americans represent 13.4 percent of the U.S. population, yet experience illness and infirmity at higher rates and have lower life expectancy than other racial and ethnic groups. The reasons for this are complex, but lack of diversity in healthcare is a major contributor to health disparities in Black and other ethnic minority communities. Lack of diversity in healthcare translate to negative health outcomes in patients of color. For example, African American women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than White women. The African American infant mortality rate is twice the rate as for white infants. African Americans are more likely to die from cancer and heart disease than whites and are at greater risk for the onset of diabetes. Similarly, racial disparities in hospitalization and death from the COVID-19 virus are well documented to disproportionately affect African American, Native American and Alaska Native populations. Many of these disparities arise out of the social determinants of health, such as socioeconomic status, where patients live and work, their access to good food, housing and transportation. However, some of these negative outcomes are a result of implicit bias and subconscious prejudices leading to lower quality care from providers, but also from non-compliance from patients that are mistrustful of the healthcare system and its workers due to previous discrimination and negative experience. Largely, however, providers who don't reflect the communities they serve are effectively unable to address those social determinants to health and provide high quality of care. Until providers understand and appreciate the challenges and perspectives within the multicultural communities they serve, they can't effectively address the risks and health implications these patient populations face. Instead, having a healthcare workforce reflective of its patient base helps the health system design care plans effectively. It promotes stronger doctor-patient relationships and makes miscommunication less likely. In fact, considerable evidence suggests that increasing the number of healthcare providers from diverse backgrounds, is a vital step in tackling healthcare disparities in ethnic minority populations. By creating a workforce that understands different patient populations' barriers to positive healthcare outcomes, the system can begin to change to a patient-centered focus that's more sensitive to patients' needs. Thus, it is more important than ever to tackle the underrepresentation of ethnic minorities among health-care providers, and an obvious first place to start is to address the low matriculation of underrepresented minorities into U.S. medical schools. One major reason why diversity is slow to increase in the healthcare system is because it is dependent on how diversity changes in the education of healthcare professionals. Figures from the Association of American Medical Colleges show that 49.9 percent of medical school matriculants are white, 22.1 percent are Asian, 7.1 percent are Black, 6.2 percent are Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish Origin, and 0.2 percent are American Indian or Alaska Native. The U.S. healthcare system is unlikely to see significant changes in the diversity of its workforce until there is an increase in diversity in healthcare education. Yet the benefits to having diverse medical student populations are numerous. Research suggests that increasing diversity in medical education can improve learning outcomes for all students including active thinking, intellectual engagement, social skills and empathy, as well as reduce racial bias in practice, leaving students with broader perspectives, a deeper understanding of different communities and an improved ability to be empathetic to those seeking help. I believe it critically important that medical school student populations reflect the multicultural populations that these future physicians will serve. As a newly accepted medical student for the class of 2025, one way I plan to address the low matriculation of African American students into medical school is by serving on my medical school’s admissions committee and advocating for the admission of more African American applicants. One of my primary motivations is to see other highly qualified and motivated African American students successfully matriculate into medical school and shape the workforce of tomorrow. Servant leadership is the philosophy I embrace. Through my experiences volunteering at a federally qualified health center, I have witnessed firsthand how physical, social and environmental factors can influence the likelihood of disease. How lack of financial resources, language barriers, and stigma keep patients from seeking care. My desire to serve those with the least access to resources is what compels me to pursue a career in medicine. As a future physician, I want to practice medicine that addresses ways to improve healthcare quality and outcomes for individuals in underserved communities. Achieving health equity requires the active engagement and advocacy of all health care professionals. As servant leaders, health care providers are best equipped to make system-level changes and in the provider-patient relationship that ultimately improve the value and quality of care for patients.