Skip to main content

Inspiring the Young African-American Physician-Scientist

Kafui Dzirasa featured in “Black Men in White Coats” video

Physician-scientist Dr. Kafui Dzirasa, is featured in a new video as part of the “Black Men in White Coats” video series. Dzirasa, who earned his Ph.D. and M.D. from Duke, is an assistant professor in the departments of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and neurobiology and a member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. He was among 106 researchers in 2016 to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from former President Barack Obama.

The video series is the result of a collaboration between Duke University School of Medicine and DiverseMedicine Inc. Videos featuring Associate Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) Dr. Kevin Thomas and Dr. Kwadwo Adu Owusu-Akyaw, an orthopaedic surgery resident, were released last summer.

“The aim of the video series is to inspire more underrepresented minority students to consider the field of medicine by showing them the stories of others who’ve done so successfully, says Dr. Dale Okorodudu, a pulmonary and critical care physician at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center who founded DiverseMedicine Inc. and “Black Men in White Coats” during his time as an Internal Medicine resident at Duke University.

“Our mission is to increase ethnic and socioeconomic diversity within the field of medicine. For black men in particular, our aim is to show compelling stories of individuals they can identify with, and in doing so, demonstrate that there is no reason they can’t become medical doctors as well.”

Although the number of black men graduating from college continues to increase, the number of black men applying to medical school has dropped during the past 4 decades. In 2015, the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) released a report focused on this issue entitled, “Altering the Course: Black Males in Medicine.” In it, the AAMC reports that in 2014 1,337 black males applied to medical school compared to 1,410 in 1978. Just under 4 percent of practicing physicians in the United States today are black, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in October 2015.

Watch the Videos:  

Dr. Kevin Thomas 
Dr. Kwadwo Owusu-Akyaw