Blog Post

Black Female Doctors Represent Only Tiny Fraction of All Doctors Worldwide (The Mercury News)

January 16, 2018

An alum of our CHCF Health Care Leadership Program was featured in a Mercury News article about the small but growing number of  minority physicians. Female African-American doctors represent about two percent of the nation's 877,616 active physicians. Below is an excerpt from the article:

Dr. Pam Simms-Mackey, a pediatrician at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, was luckier than most. She was raised by a mother with a background in early childhood education, and a father who was a urologist.

“I always say, ‘It’s easier to dream it if you can see it,’ ” said Simms-Mackey, 49, who also is married with two children.

“I had a father talk about discrimination,” she recalled of his years as the only black student in his class at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit. The family’s move to Oakland in the early 1970s also came at a time when some area hospitals refused him admitting privileges.

By middle school, however, Simms-Mackey had decided to become a pediatrician.

“I always wanted to help people and make a difference, and I love kids,” she said, adding how important it is for her patients, 85 percent of whom are African-American, to have a physician who looks like them.

“I think they’re really pleased to see me,” she added. “They kind of light up.”

It doesn’t hurt that since 2012, many of her young patients have been watching the animated children’s television series, “Doc McStuffins.”

Dottie “Doc” McStuffins, an African-American youngster, has decided she wants to become a doctor like her mother, a pediatrician. In the Disney Channel show, which has been renewed for a fifth season, the little girl practices her dream by fixing toys and dolls.

“They love it,” said Simms-Mackey, who hands out stickers of characters featured in that series, among others, to her young patients. “It’s a doctor who looks like their doctor, and who looks like them.”

Read the full article in The Mercury News.