ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – As part of their commitment to diversity, University of New Mexico will host the country’s first black surgeon general of the United States.
It’s all part of a campus screening of a new documentary spotlighting black women in medicine.
While the documentary “Black Women in Medicine” shows women already working as doctors, former United States Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, says the reason there aren’t more is the lack of female representation in STEM fields over all.
“We need to start early if we’re going to make a difference and get more women and girls into the STEM program,” Dr. Elders said.
Dr. Elders served as the surgeon general appointed by Bill Clinton in the early 1990s.
She says while the country has made strides when it comes to racial and gender equality, representation in the medical field is still low for women of color.
The UNM event comes as hospitals across the country and here in New Mexico struggle to fill empty positions. It’s also why UNM says they wanted host the film here in Albuquerque
“That’s what’s so important for girls, is that they know it’s great to be smart,” said Dr. Karissa Culbreath, Assistant Professor of the UNM Pathology Department.
“They need to have role models so they see other people who look like them being successful,” Dr. Culbreath said .
On top of the documentary screening, a book signing for “Against All Odds” will also be held Friday tonight. The book features essays from doctors across the country, including from right here in New Mexico.
Friday’s event is completely free, and there’s still space for the film screening. Following the screening there will also be workshops. It all gets underway at 5:15 p.m. at the Dominici Center.