U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, re-introduced his Expanding Medical Education Act, legislation to tackle the lack of representation of rural students, underserved students, and students of color in the physician pipeline. The bill would provide grants to colleges and universities to establish or expand medical schools in underserved areas or at minority-serving institutions (MSIs), including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The legislation would encourage the recruitment, enrollment, and retention of students from disadvantaged backgrounds at the medical schools. Virginia is home to 5 HBCUs: Hampton University in Hampton, Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia Union University in Richmond, and Virginia University of Lynchburg in Lynchburg. Senator Kaine is pushing to include this legislation in the Build Back Better bill.
"Even before the pandemic, underserved, rural, and minority communities faced too many barriers in accessing health care," said Senator Kaine. "This has only been exacerbated by nationwide physician shortages. One way we can address this issue is by diversifying and expanding our physician pipeline, as medical students of color and those from rural areas are more likely to practice in the communities they're from. I'm proud to re-introduce this important legislation to help us get one step closer to ensuring communities across Virginia and the nation have access to the medical professionals they need."