The Maryland College of Osteopathic Medicine at Morgan State plans to increase the number of Black doctors entering the profession and, in turn, increase Black Baltimore residents’ access to physicians that resemble them.
Fewer than one in 10 medical school graduates today are Black. In addition, MSU (September 9, 2022) Morgan State medical school will be the first osteopathic medical school in the region and the only one at an HBCU.
A Denver-based company called Salud Education approached administrators at Morgan State to gauge their interest in partnering to start a new institution. The company previously helped to open medical schools at New Mexico State University, Idaho State University, and elsewhere.
The proposed medical school will be a separate, privately operated entity affiliated with Morgan. That means no state funding will be needed to build a facility for the school or manage it.
Two years ago, TheNarrativeMatters (October 18, 2021) published an article about osteopathic medicine. It’s been 100 years since Dr. Meta Loretta Christy became the first Black woman in America to graduate from what is now the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
And just two years ago, Dr. Ashley Roxanne Peterson, now 26, graduated from the same school as the youngest Black female osteopathic physician in America in 2019.
Two years ago, The NarrativeMatters (October 18, 2021) published an article about osteopathic medicine. The practice of osteopathic medicine began in the United States in 1874; it wasn’t until 1892, that Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, coined the name and founded the American School of Osteopathy in Kirksville, Missouri, at a time when osteopathic medicine was largely believed to be fraudulent.
There are about three dozen osteopathic medical school trained students in a holistic approach to medicine. Five other HBCUs have traditional or “allopathic” medical schools. Doctors of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) focus on preventive care, emphasizing the musculoskeletal system and environmental factors.
In contrast, doctors of medicine (M.D.) are trained to use medication and surgery as treatment. Osteopathic doctors often work in primary care. The doctor of osteopathic medicine degree, or D.O., is equivalent to allopathic physicians who hold a doctor of medicine degree, or M.D.
In an information age where someone astute at finding information can look up their medication, get additional information about an ailment. Osteopathic medicine has become more popular among the population, particularly among Black culture, where socioeconomic and sociopolitical pressures may contribute to specific health conditions, so taking into account a whole-person and preventative approach to health care may have a more effective outcome than traditional allopathic medicine which relies more on pharma-therapeutic answers to specific disease conditions.
Osteopathic physicians believe the body’s systems are interconnected and work together to heal the body. They also consider how each patient’s lifestyle and environmental factors impact their well-being. African Americans are at higher risk for many health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and cancer in part because they have limited access to primary care physicians.
MSU (September 9, 2022) reported that Morgan’s Maryland College of Osteopathic Medicine will enroll 125 students to start in fall 2024 and eventually expand to serve over 600 students. A chance to lead a medical school, says the new dean Sealey believes the new school will be uniquely positioned to produce a new generation of Black primary care physicians sensitive to Baltimore residents’ needs and inspire them to seek regular care. In addition, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland will hopefully facilitate hands-on training for Morgan State’s future medical students.
AAMC. (2023). Action Collaborative for Black Men in Medicine. https://www.aamc.org/about-us/equity-diversity-inclusion/action-collaborative-black-men-medicine
Gasman,M. (November 23, 2022).Why Increasing Black Men In Medicine Is Essential. Why Increasing Black Men In Medicine Is Essential (forbes.com)
MSU. (September 9, 2022). Morgan State to Open a Medical School — First at a Historically Black University in Decades. Morgan State to Open a Medical School — First at a Historically Black University in Decades
Smart-Abbey, N.A. (October 18, 2021).Descendant of Slaves Becomes the Youngest Black Osteopathic Doctor in History.Descendant of Slaves Becomes the Youngest Black Osteopathic Doctor in History – The Narrative Matters