Good Black News recently read an inspiring story at cleveland.com about Dr. Carl Allamby, 47, a career auto mechanic who figuratively changed lanes and recently graduated from Northeast Ohio Medical University. Allamby, who grew up in East Cleveland, is currently doing his residency in emergency medicine at Cleveland Clinic Akron General Hospital.
After returning to school to take business classes and falling in love with medicine via a required biology course, Allamby’s chemistry teacher told him about a new program at Cleveland State University called Partnership for Urban Health that sought to recruit and train doctors, especially minority doctors, to practice urban communities. The program offered intense undergraduate classes, help preparing for the Medical College Admissions Test, and then, if successful, a spot at the Northeast Ohio Medical University.
“There are so many times throughout the different hospitals where I will walk in and [a black patient] will say, ‘Thank God there’s finally a brother here,’” Allamby said.
“We absolutely need more black doctors, he said, noting mistrust that has a long history, including the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis, where black patients were victimized.
“I think you remove a lot of those barriers when there is a person there who looks like you,” he said.
Research shows that black patients fare better with black doctors. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research last year found that black men, who have the lowest life expectancy of any American demographic, were more likely to share details with black doctors and to heed their advice. Having a black doctor was more effective in convincing them to get a flu shot than a financial reward.
A new study authored by scholars at Wellesley College and the University of Maryland found that children who watched Sesame Street when it was first broadcast nearly a half century ago, did better in school as they got older. The data shows that exposure to Sesame Street was particularly beneficial to African Americans and children living in economically disadvantaged areas.
The data shows that Black children who lived in areas where Sesame Street was broadcast on stronger VHF channels where reception was more reliable and viewership was higher reduced their likelihood of being below grade level on academic assessment tests by 13.7 percent several years later when they were in elementary school.
Phillip B. Levine, an economist at Wellesley College and co-author of the study, said that “it is remarkable that a single intervention consisting of watching a television show for an hour a day in preschool can have such a substantial effect helping kids advance through school. Our analysis suggests that Sesame Street may be the biggest and most affordable early childhood intervention out there, at a cost of a just few dollars per child per year, with benefits that can last several years.”
Co-author Melissa Kearney, an economist at the University of Maryland, added that “it is quite encouraging to find that something so readily accessible and inexpensive as Sesame Street has the potential to have such a positive impact on children’s school performance, in particular for children from economically disadvantaged communities. These findings raise the exciting possibility that TV and electronic media more generally can be leveraged to address income and racial gaps in children’s school readiness.”
The article, “Early Childhood Education by MOOC: Lessons From Sesame Street,” was published on the website of the National Bureau of Economic Research. It may be accessed here.
Bridget Terry Long, the Xander Professor of Education and Economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has been appointed academic dean of the school. Dr. Long joined the faculty at the school in 2000 as an assistant professor and was promoted to full professor in 2009. Her research deals with the transition from high school to college focusing on college access, financial aid, and academic preparation.
Professor Long is a faculty research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and was appointed by President Obama to serve on the National Board of Education Sciences.
Dr. Long is a graduate of Princeton University and holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.