As a medical student at the University of Louisville, Tino Mkorombindo already has a lot on his plate.
He recently completed his third year of med school. This fall, he is pivoting to pursue an MBA before completing his medical education and ultimately applying for a residency position in orthopedic surgery.
But his studies have not kept him from noticing that some changes in the health care landscape could make a positive difference.
A native of Zimbabwe, Mkorombindo says the number of minority physicians in the United States is far too few to reflect the patient population.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, those who identify as underrepresented minorities (Blacks, Mexican-Americans, multirace, mainland Puerto Ricans, and Native Americans-American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians) represent more than 36 percent of the general population. However, according to data from the Diversity in Medicine: Facts and Figures 2019 report of the Association of American Medical Colleges, individuals from these groups comprise just a little more than 12 percent of the physician workforce.
- IT’S FREE | Sign up for The Lane Report email business newsletter. Receive breaking Kentucky business news and updates daily. Click here to sign up
“Increasing physician diversity is important for ensuring culturally competent patient care and access for underserved populations. Studies also tell us diversity leads to improved patient outcomes and patient satisfaction,” said Mkorombindo.
With the goal of increasing physician diversity, Mkorombindo established Greater Influence Inc., a nonprofit that serves as a resource for minority students who want to pursue a career in medicine. His vision for the organization is to create a space that ensures that all students, from high school through medical school, have the tools they need to excel.
Mkorombindo created and designed a website that provides a blueprint for high school students through their final year of medical school. Website resources address a variety of topics, including weekly motivation; study information; guidance for applications to undergraduate schools, medical schools and residencies; advice on seeking and providing mentorships; along with printable checklists and timelines.
The community-based nonprofit looks to increase early exposure to medicine, launching new initiatives that will improve access to health care in Louisville’s West End, and implementing fundraising campaigns for student scholarships.
Mkorombindo says the scholarships will fund SAT/ACT/MCAT/Board prep courses, medical school applications, and travel funds for interviews and conferences. ■