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The death of local pediatrician has led to a focus on lack of diversity in medicine

“Having a Black and Brown doctor just makes a difference because they can advocate and be their voice.”
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Posted at 5:44 PM, Jul 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 17:44:46-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buffalo's prominent pediatrician's death leads to conversations about the lack of diversity in the medical field.

Dr. Jonathan Daniels was one of two Black doctors who served generations of Black and Brown patients in Buffalo.

Those who knew him say he helped recruit and worked closely with students at the Jacobs School of Medicine And Biomedical Sciences.

Beatrice Gonzalez was one of his students.

"Having a Black and Brown doctor just makes a difference because they can advocate and be their voice," she says. "They know struggles we know what we have gone through, so we need more doctors that look like us and Dr. Daniels has advocated that for his entire career."

Gonzalez says the disparity in the medical field is real — medicine looks different based on your skin color.

"Not only our brothers and sisters are getting murdered by the hands of racism," Gonzalez says. "But we're also getting treated differently because we're Black, Hispanic or our socioeconomic status and we see in statistics."

Dr. Daniels's student plans to go to Penn State for medicine, where she hopes to spread his mission.

According to the Jacobs School of Medicine, in 2005, 2.9 percent of non-white students were enrolled that percentage increased to 23 percent in 2020.

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Kinzer Pointer is an adjunct faculty member at the Jacobs School of Medicine.

He says while he hopes change is coming, there still isn't enough representation, and the loss of Dr. Daniels is proving equally detrimental.

"So this loss is felt in more than one way," he says. "Because now thousands of children no longer have a pediatrician and in a community where access to quality health care is difficult."

Both Pointer and Gonzalez say they hope Dr. Daniels will serve as an inspiration for the next generation.