DULUTH,MN– As medical students embark on their journey to becoming doctors, some are making history within the University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth campus.
12 of the incoming students are Native American.
Mary Owen the director of Indian and Minority Health says, “This is the first year we’ve had this large a number, 18%, so it’s momentous in that.”
Momentus, because that’s double the number of native students than in years past.
The campus’s mission has always been to serve the rural and Native American population, something one student says attracted him to U of M.
Thaius Boyd a medical student who comes from a tribe from Kansas said he chose the school because of the diversity.
“You can provide care to urban, rural and tribal communities”, he said.
These students feel great pride in being able to serve their communities and make a difference.
Kylie Miller another student said she wants to break boundaries for Native American people.
She says, “To be their advocate for better health care, and communication between the physician and the patient because I think that’s a problem with not having enough Native American physicians.”
Boyd says there are many health care challenges Native Americans struggle with.
“The health care disparities impacting tribal nations include a shortage of doctors, there’s a cultural barrier as well, and I wanted to make a difference,” he says.
With their white coats on and stethoscopes around their necks, these students are ready to break down those barriers and saving lives in the process.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Association of American Indian Physicians, this puts the U of M at number two in the country for most Native Americans graduating from their program.