The Associated Press: 4 HBCU Medical Schools Join NFL Diversity Initiative

May 24, 2022

Students from four Historically Black College and University medical schools will be selected for clinical rotations with NFL team medical staffs this year. The joint program with the NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) and Professional Football Athletic Trainer Society (PFATS) aims to diversify the pipeline in sports medicine, including at NFL clubs. It is open to medical students interested in primary care sports medicine and/or orthopedic surgery from Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles; Howard University College of Medicine in Washington; Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta; and Meharry Medical College in Nashville. ‘We always have students interested in orthopedic surgery and sports medicine, and this is an additional avenue,’ said Dr. Digna Forbes, the interim dean of the school of medicine at Meharry. ‘The more opportunities we have for these sub specialties, it will increase diversity in those. This is important. It’s an opportunity to showcase our medical students, they have been going all over for these sub specialties, but with the NFL being so high profile, and to diversify the (medical) positions in the NFL, it would be great that the doctors treating them are also diverse.’…’On the whole, a day would consist of a mixture of time with the athletic training staff, observing treatments and assessments and rehabilitation care,’ said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer. ‘They would also spend time with team physicians and learn how they diagnose and treat injury rehab. Perhaps they would attend a surgical procedure that involves an athlete. And then they would be attending a team practice. All of those elements allow them to appreciate what the entire athletic training staff does, how the medical team works together…Sills notes that diversity is an issue throughout the entire realm of medicine. NFLPS President Timothy McAdams concurs. “We have significant work to do to ensure that the NFLPS membership more closely mirrors the player population we treat every day,” said McAdams, also the San Francisco 49ers’ head physician. “It begins here, by broadening the pipeline and encouraging medical students from diverse backgrounds to consider the possibilities of a career in sports medicine.

Read the full story at The Associated Press here.