Have you been having trouble finding a Black primary care doctor? Well, you are not the only one. Across all races and nationalities the demand for primary care doctors is far below the supply. Looking for an African-American or Caribbean-descent primary care doctor out of that shortage can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Several factors contributing to this shortage including:
1) Americans are living longer, resulting in a much larger than anticipated senior population.
2) Senior populations require more doctors than younger populations.
3) And, the number of doctors aging out of the profession far exceeds the number of doctors entering the profession. This is particularly true for primary care doctors and especially true for Black doctors.
As this trend is expected to continue, the Association of American Medical Colleges says the U.S. will see a shortage of 46,900 to 121,900 physicians by 2032 in both primary and specialty care.
While Black people comprise nearly 15% of the population, the number of Black doctors has never peaked above 4% of all practicing physicians. So, if you have been looking for a Black doctor and haven’t found one, you now have a better understanding as to why. Black physicians entering the primary care workforce in South Florida are few and far between.
One local physician is looking to buck that trend. Dr. Inaki Bent has just put out his shingle by partnering with Dr. Michelle C. Powell and physician assistant Leandra Monroe of Powell Health Solutions Inc. And they are open for business.
A native son, Dr. Bent was raised in South Florida and born in Jackson Memorial Hospital to Haitian parents, who migrated in the ‘70s. He confesses to deciding to be a doctor at a very young age. He is a graduate of Miami Northwestern Senior High School and a recent inductee of its Hall of Fame. He holds a bachelor’s of science degree in Exercise Science from Florida State University, a master’s degree in Biomedical Science from Barry University, and both a master’s in Business Administration and a doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from the Nova Southeastern University.
He would complete nearly a decade of postgraduate training before returning to Jackson Memorial to complete his residency training and being hired there as a lead attending Physician. After several years in the hospital system, Dr. Bent now feels ready to directly serve the community he loves.
These days, medical schools no longer prepare new doctors for private practice. Considering the dwindling numbers, the financial roadblocks, and challenges with insurance contracting, they deem it unnecessary. Dr. Bent understands some of the hurdles but has committed to press on.
“Throughout my career, I’ve always had a passion to serve underserved populations,” says Bent. “My faith teaches me that we should do for the lesser of us. I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me,” he continues reciting Matthew 25:36 from the Bible.
So, while many Black doctors are headed out, at least here in South Florida we have Dr. Bent ready to answer your call. If more Black doctors are willing to buck the trend, perhaps we can put a dent in our shortage of Black primary care doctors.
You may reach Dr. Inaki Bent at Powell Health Solutions at 305-948-4701.