Black men in white coats

A UT Southwestern physician has made it his mission to get more black men in white coats. Dale Okorodudu, M.D., believes it's vital for improving health care equity and providing positive role models for children of all races.

Transcript

I was born in Nigeria. I lived there for about three years and came to America with my parents. Then we moved down to Texas, which is where I grew up and spent most of my childhood. When I finished high school, I went to the University of Missouri in Columbia. That's where I did my undergraduate education. So here I am a lowly freshman, sophomore in college just trying to figure out my way around and this big time doctor comes around and he just really wants to help me. That really impacted me. It made me want to grow and help other people as well. And honestly, in med school that's probably the first time where I really started to feel what it meant to be a minority in the field of medicine. In 2013, the Association of American Colleges put out a report saying that the number of black men applying to medical school is actually decreasing. At the time, I was a resident physician, I was at Duke, and I just thought, you know, there has to be something we can do about this. We all got together. We sat up my cell phone, I think we actually propped it up on my wallet, and we just filmed ourselves chatting about this issue. From there, Black Men in White Coats was started. I came to UT Southwestern Medical Center for my Fellowship, and here, the idea was very much welcomed. And once we released these videos, things just kind of went crazy. I think in the first week, these videos had 100,000 views. At the end of the day though, we can't just inspire people with videos all day long. That's fine, but you have to do more than that, which is why we do the Black Men in White Coats youth summit. We're gonna inspire these children. We're gonna give them mentorship. We're gonna expose them to healthcare. We understand the value and the importance of actually getting black men, not just black men but diversity in general, into the field of medicine. For a child to see black male physicians, that changes your perception of what a black man can be. Or even better, that changes your perception of what a black man is. That counters all the negative stereotypes that you might see in the media. And that really changes the way that we interact with each other as a society, as a whole. It teaches us to treat each other with love, for us to respect one another, and not to look down upon each other.