Course Unit | Session 9: Assessing the Degree of Racial Integration in Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry - Hospitals and Health Professions Education

Session 9: Assessing the Degree of Racial Integration in Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry - Hospitals and Health Professions Education


This session will focus on what Black health professionals had achieved in their national campaigns, most of them beginning in the 1930s, to racially integrate medicine, dentistry, and nursing. Students will consider why Black lay midwifery continued as a major source of maternity care in the rural South as other areas of the country were opening up obstetrics services in hospitals to Black women, and if any of these efforts, including those to racially integrate hospitals, health professions schools and professional associations, had an impact on the health outcomes of minority persons.

Required Readings:

Dietrich C. Reitzes.  “Summary and Conclusions: Patterns of Medical Care”, pp. 329 – 347.  In: Negroes and Medicine (New York, NY: The Commonwealth Fund, 1958).


One third of the class will read one of the following three sections:

Analyze the degree of integration in your selected cities considering the seven factors Reitzes argues are most important.

  1. The Midwest: Chicago, Illinois and Gary, Indiana. pp. 103-143. In: Negroes and Medicine.
  2. The Nation’s Capital, Washington, DC, pp. 190-230. In: Negroes and Medicine.
  3. The Border Areas: Kansas City, Missouri, and St. Louis, Missouri, pp. 231-269. In: Negroes and Medicine.

Optional reading:

Dietrich C. Reitzes. Chapter 1, Medical Education for Negroes: Students and Applicants,” pp. 3 – 40. In: Negroes and Medicine.



  1. What barriers did Reitzes identify to the acceptance of black students into medical school in each period he studied?
  2. What recommendations did he propose to increase the number of black students who were accepted into medical school?
  3. What major interventions did Reitzes propose to increase the number of medical students accepted into medical school?
  4. Did Reitzes propose a wholesale and fundamental change in admission policies where all medical schools would be required to admit black students?
  5. How did the social determinants of health impact the ability of black students in their efforts to gain entry into medical school?
  6. Did financial support from families have an impact on black students and their choice of medicine or dentistry as a career?
  7. Do you think the statistics for dentistry or nursing would be different if Reitzes conducted a similar study among those professional groups?
  8. What did Reitzes use as his measure of the degree of racial integration in medicine in a community?
  9. Why did Reitzes choose to study cities in different parts of the country?
  10. What were the seven factors that Reitzes thought contributed most to the state of the racial integration of medicine in a community?
  11. Where black physicians always in the forefront of advocating for the racial integration of medicine in their communities?  If not, what often served as a barrier to their advocating on behalf of the racial integration of medicine?
  12. Why were opportunities for interaction between white and black physicians so important in the efforts to racially integrate medicine?
  13. Did the racial integration of physicians onto the staffs of white hospitals impact employment and career opportunities for black nurses?