The shortage of black male doctors in this country is bad for patients, write two public health professors in an opinion piece for Stat News.

Here’s why, best articulated by Dr. Damon Tweedy, a psychiatrist and author of “Black Man in a White Coat”: “When I have been particularly successful at treating black patients, it has often had less to do with any particular talent on my part than with my patients’ willingness to bring up the racial concerns that troubled them.”

Cultural competence plays an important role in communication that goes far beyond diagnostic skill. It encompasses the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to bridge cultural, ethnic, and linguistic gaps between patients and providers. It’s not a once-and-done module or in-service training but a lifelong pursuit.

Read the rest at