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Aetna Working to Promote M.D. Diversity

Aetna Inc. recently announced that the company is putting up $454,000 to promote ethnic diversity among the next generation of U.S. physicians.

Aetna and the Aetna Foundation say they have allocated funds to support to separate programs that provide medical and scientific educational opportunities for middle school, college and medical school students from minority populations.

Aetna cited U.S. Census data and American Medical Association physician profiles showing a continued disconnect between diversity in the nation's physician corps vs. its general population: African Americans represent 13 percent of the U.S. population yet just 4 percent of its physiciansl Hispanics represent 15 percent of the population but only 5 percent of doctors; Native Americans are 1 percent of the population and only 0.2 percent of today's physicians.

Among the recipients: $50,000 to Southern Methodist University to provide a physician and scientific summer training program for middle school students; $204,000 to the Four Directions Summer Research Program to support an eight-week research course for college students sponsored by Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston; and $100,000 to National Medical Fellowships (NMF) to create the Aetna Foundation/NMF National Leadership Program that will provide medical school scholarships.

Additionally, Aetna says it pledged $100,000 to the United Negro College Fund fundraising gala in March to fund college students typically attending historically black colleges and universities.

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