The Journal of General Internal Medicine found that the percentage of Black male doctors in both 1940 and 2018 sat around 2.7 percent, despite an increase in the general Black population during that time.
According to the study, the number of Black doctors regardless of gender has also seen minimal change in the past century. In 1900, 1.3 percent of the medical force was Black, and in 2018, that number had only grown to 5.4 percent.
The authors of the study pointed out that the improvements seen between 1900 and 2018 were mainly due to Black women entering the medical field. Prior to the 1980s, Black female doctors made up less than 1 percent of the field, a number that jumped to 2.8 percent by 2018.
However, the percentage of Black male doctors has actually slightly decreased since 1940, a result of diminishing medicine courses at several HBCUs, according to the study.
Experts say that the best solution to improving Black health is increasing the number of Black doctors. However, with little to no improvements in representation spanning over a century, Black people remain underserved in healthcare and have worse health outcomes than their white counterparts.