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WTMJ: How One Black Doctor Is Fighting Racial Disparity In Health Care

Dr. Latosha Harper noticed a great lack of Black health care providers, which ultimately impacted her family's experience.
Posted at 8:39 PM, Feb 09, 2022

Less than six percent of doctors in the U.S. are Black, but one doctor at Froedtert Hospital is working to fight that racial disparity across health care.

Dr. LaTosha Harper is a doctor at the Froedtert McKinley Health Center in downtown Milwaukee where she specializes in family medicine. She realized she had a calling for it after losing her father and grandfather.

"Eventually, I was like 'I need to be a doctor.' I can make a difference cause I had seen it. My father was getting sicker and my grandfather wasn't doing well and I'm just like, 'it's not making sense,'" said Dr. Harper.

She noticed a great lack of Black health care providers, which ultimately impacted her family's experience.

"They go to the doctor, they're taking the medicine as they're prescribed, but why are they not getting better? I realized that they didn't trust a lot of the doctors," she said.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, more than half of all doctors in the country are white while just 5% are Black.

"A lot of times seeing someone from the same socioeconomic background, they have just an understanding about the culture and a lot of my patients feel comfortable sharing information that they felt like they couldn't with someone else of a different ethnic background," Dr. Harper said.

Dr. Harper has seen that type of trust between her patients make all the difference in the care that they receive.

She is grateful to now be able to practice medicine in her community, all while helping close the gap.

"I grew up on 1st and Center, 26th and Keefe, so I know the area. I know some of the community disparities that they may deal with," she said.

Moving forward, Dr. Harper hopes to help mentor and inspire more future Black doctors.

"Being a physician and going back to the community where I was born and raised and showing them that yes, you can do it. I came from the Milwaukee Public Schools system and yes even with that education I can make it and they can too."

The story was originally published by Jessica Madhukar on www.tmj4.com.