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B. Physicians and Race

Narrator: This is Science Today. Are there enough doctors in your community? Dr. Miriam Komaromy of the University of California, San Francisco can tell you -- based on your race.

Komaramy: Black and Hispanic communities are much less likely to have an adequate supply of doctors than are other communities...

Narrator: No matter what their income. Komaromy did a study showing that African-American and Hispanic communities in California have one-third as many doctors as, for example, poor white communities. Komaromy says her findings have a bearing on the national debate on affirmative action.

Komaramy: In the whole affirmative action debate, it's been suggested that we'd be better off looking at someone's socioeconomic background than at their race as a way of deciding whether they're not from a privileged group and should get preferential admission. And in fact this study really shows this is one glaring example of how if you just look at someone's socioeconomic background, you might not recognize that they come from an underserved area in an underserved community, whereas if you look at race, you get a different picture.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.