American Indians are also the single most underrepresented minority in the field of medicine, comprising 1.7% of the total United States population but only 0.05% of our nation’s physicians. Other health care professions, such as nursing, dentistry, and pharmacology, demonstrate a comparable disparity. There are many factors that contribute to this imbalance, deeply rooted in decades of racial inequities and marginalization.
Education is a powerful tool in addressing these disparities, yet the statistics demonstrate a gap in student achievement among American Indian children.
- In 2009, more than 64% of American Indian students failed to score “proficient” on a standardized science assessment (as compared to 27% of their Caucasian counterparts);
- A 2011 “Annual Report Card” generated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) showed that only 24% of American Indian students at BIA schools tested at “proficient” or above in science.