Meta: A black medical assistant takes a patient’s blood pressure.
Source: Hush Naidoo Jade Photography

A lack of adequate and appropriate medical care is one of the biggest inequalities that continue to plague the black community. There are countless studies that show that black patients receive significantly lower standards of care than their white peers, and even worse, dozens of documented cases of laboring black mothers being denied appropriate medical attention. Without advocates for proper treatment, many of us go ignored and some avoid seeking help all together.

Thankfully, there has been an upswing in the last decade of black attendance in healthcare programs. Now, in 2021, there are more black doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, medical assistants—you name it—than ever. For their education, many aspiring medical students are turning to historically black colleges/universities, or HBCUs, for medicine and related healthcare programs. HBCUs afford these students the support, guidance, and networking needed to help advance their education and careers after they graduate. These are some of the best HBCU options for medicine:

#1: Howard University

Meta: HBCU Howard medicine graduate Greg Umphrey works with student.

Howard University ranks high on most lists for the best HBCUs, but did you know that their primary care program is one of the top 100 in the country? Those who attend Howard with a focus in primary care medicine will be attending the #84 best medical school in the United States, period, according to US News & World Report’s 2021 rankings. Students across medical disciplines have the opportunity to train hands-on at the historical Howard University Hospital, the primary teaching hospital for the school. 

#2: Xavier University of Louisiana

Meta: Dr. Kenneth Winfrey, a 1994 medical graduate of the HBCU of XULA, examines a patient.

XULA holds the title for educating the most black students who go on to graduate from medical school. As the HBCU that is the #1 producer of black healthcare professionals, XULA’s medicine offerings are unique in that their pre-med program is not a major by itself; rather, it is an internal designation that refers to a course schedule that can fold into any undergraduate program of study, and incorporate directly into XULA’s Biology Pre-Medical major, Chemistry Pre-Professional (Pre-Medical) major, Premedical Psychology major, and Biochemistry major. However, the pre-med schedule at XULA includes commonly required courses for students who plan to go on to medical, dental, veterinary, optometry, podiatry, or other healthcare profession schools.

#3: Meharry Medical College

Meta: Students at MMC, an HBCU for medicine, perform labs.

Meharry Medical College (MMC) is a historically black medical school located in Nashville, Tennessee. In addition to its medical programs, Meharry also has a robust dental program which provides even further options, giving students the opportunity to enter a dental surgery program. MMC partners with ten schools to help recruit and prepare students for Meharry’s medical school, including Alabama A & M, Albany State University, and Hampton University, all HBCUs.

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