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CSU program addresses the shortage of black doctors in the medical community

Posted: 5:27 PM, Nov 26, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-26 17:27:46-05

CLEVELAND — Dr. Greg Hall splits time between patients and a two-year program where he teaches students at Cleveland State. Dr. Hall is co-director of the NEOMED-CSU Partnership for Urban Health, a program that aims to educate and support more black doctors.

“Our criteria are to empower underrepresented minorities, people that are first-generation college attenders, and then Cleveland, and inner-ring suburbs,” said Dr. Hall. “We have a post back arm, which is students that have graduated from college but may not have all the requirements to get into medical school.”

Hall said the pool of African American physicians is shrinking.

“Nationwide, it’s like 3 to 4 percent,” said Hall.

He points to a lack of opportunity and less funding for historically black colleges and universities. In many spaces, a crumbling educational foundation is built by failing grade schools.

“We actually give that added information, that added exposure, and added support so they can go to medical school,” said Hall.

“I was worried about how I am gonna get there? The journey, the cost,” said DaVaughn Lawson, who graduated from Morehouse College last year.

“We need more doctors like me; we need more doctors that look like me,” said Lawson.

In Hall’s program, Lawson has a role model who looks like him.

“We can be lawyers, we can be doctors, we can be surgeons, we can be astronauts, you can be an engineer, you can be a technician. You can be,” said Lawson. "There are so many things that you can do.”

Dr. Hall said CSU's program has an 80 percent ultimate acceptance rate into medical school. Upon finishing this program, Lawson will attend Northeast Ohio Medical University, and pursue a career as a primary care physician.

“I’ve always had a passion to help people,” said Lawson.

This story is part of A Better Land, an ongoing series that investigates Northeast Ohio's deep-seated systemic problems. Additionally, it puts a spotlight on the community heroes fighting for positive change in Cleveland and throughout the region. If you have an idea for A Better Land story, tell us here.