The solution to raising African American male life expectancy could be more doctors

Could the solution to raising African American male life expectancy be more black doctors?

Educating more African Americans to chase a medical degree is top of mind for Dr. Denise Gray. A retrired physcian and member of the admissions committee for the Wayne State Medical School, her upbringing and emergence into the medical field is a tale of triumph and perserverance.

Graduated from high school at 16 years old, she would go on to be the chief resident at her radiology program at Harper - later becoming the first black female fellow in the American College of Radiology for her hospital.

Before that status was achieved however, Gray would have to overcome the phobia black men had regarding medical professionals, after the Tuskegee experiments which started in 1932. 

Trust in public health officials had declined among that demographic. Evidence of that historic mistrust persists in the low rate of black men entering the profession. However, the numbers are improving.

"They're doing better, but it could be even better," said Gray. "Especially black males. They have unique challenges."

But, with better outreach, Gray said those challenges could be overcome. 

"They do have some unique problems in this society, but they are there and they would make excellent doctors," said Gray. "We must continue to put ourselves in a position where we can be seen and heard and let them know it's possible."