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C. Minority Doctors and Affirmative Action

Narrator: This is Science Today. Dr. Miriam Komaromy of the University of California, San Francisco has found that if you live in a non-white community of any income level, you're likely to encounter fewer doctors than in the poorest white neighborhoods. The doctor you do have is far more likely to be non-white.

Komaromy: Not only do minority doctors choose to practice in high minority areas, but they care for much higher proportions of minority residents. African-American doctors reported that they had an average of 52 percent African-American patients, while if you look at all other non-African American doctors, they reported an average of only 9 percent of African-American patients.

Narrator: Komaromy credits affirmative action with helping minority doctors get as far as they've come. In California, affirmative action is up in the air, and Komaromy is worried.

Komaromy: We're for better or for worse sort of on the front line of deciding we want affirmative action programs to continue, and what we do is likely to have a huge effect on the rest of the nation.

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