where are all the black doctors? a day with dr. adom bondzi-simpson - 2022
shot for the hoser
Dr. Adom Bondzi-Simpson hasn’t forgotten how the words sounded. “Where’s the Black doctor!?”
“I think it was the power and strength of how he spoke those words. I could hear his call and pain or frustration.” After the experience he had with this patient during his first year of residency, Dr. Bondzi-Simpson wrote a piece about it which was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in September, 2022.
According to the 2016 census 4.7 per cent of Ontario’s population is Black, yet Black physicians make up only about 2.3 per cent of the physician population, as of 2015. Throughout his time in medical school, Dr. Bondzi-Simpson frequently wondered: where are the Black medical students? “Going through med school in Calgary, I myself was one of two [Black medical students]. It was a class of about 160.”
Dr. Bondzi-Simpson is now in his fourth year as a general surgery resident at UofT and is taking a pause from clinical training to do a research degree in clinical epidemiology at Dalla Lana School of Public Health. In 2021, he co-founded a mentorship program called UpSurge. The program is “aimed at stimulating interest, providing support, and guiding underrepresented students in pursuing surgical careers.”
“Particularly when we’re talking about Black representation in the medical field, I think that it’s important because there are certain challenges that are prevalent in the Black community,” Dr. Bondzi-Simpson says. "I think that Black patients like to seek out care providers that may have similar backgrounds to them. I think it’s maybe perhaps safer in terms of them opening up and providing culturally competent care."