Educational Challenges of Native Americans

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Native Americans' Educational Challenges Introduction Why are Native Americans underrepresented in the various healthcare fields in the United States? Is it because they lack access to educational opportunities in that field? What are the challenges that face Native Americans when it comes to the education and curricula they need to forge ahead and become representative in the healthcare industry? These questions and other issues will be addressed in this paper. The Lack of Native Americans in Healthcare Positions Thomas Sequist, professor in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, believes that Native Americans are "…severely underrepresented" when it comes to U.S. healthcare professionals, public health professionals, and medical researchers. This leads to a lack of healthcare professionals in the Native communities, Sequist explains. The statistics that Sequist presents are dramatic, in that only 0.3% of medical students are Native Americans but almost 2% of the U.S. population is Native American people (Sequist, 2007, p. 20). This is a five-fold "disparity" in representation for Native Americans, Sequist writes, and it "far exceeds" the disparity in representation for Latino and African American students. Indeed, in 2004, only 98 Native American students were in attendance at the 125 medical schools that are accredited. What is keeping Native Americans from enrolling in educational programs that will prepare them for careers as doctors,
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