Many job listings for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers specifically say, “Minority applicants encouraged to apply.” There are two excellent reasons why that statement is added. First, America’s demographics are changing, and minorities are projected to be the majority by the year 2035 or earlier. Second, the size of the healthcare workforce is expected to significantly increase as the Affordable Care Act of 2010 is fully implemented, and the number of diagnostic technician jobs are expected to increase with it. Recognizing these factors, the healthcare industry is working to ensure its workforce represents the future communities in which health organizations will be present.
The 2010 U.S. Census statistics revealed a rapidly changing population. Between 2000 and 2010 the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent, the Asian population by 43.3 percent, and the black population by 12.3 percent. The multiracial population grew the fastest at 45.9 percent. There are already numerous communities in the U.S. that have a majority minority population. | See Job Openings
Cultural Context of Health Care
As the population grows and demographics change, so do the healthcare needs of the communities. One of the most pressing needs is the availability of sonographers with cultural sensitivity and awareness. That is a major reason minorities are encouraged to apply for sonographer positions.
There is a cultural context for healthcare services delivery that is based on family background, language, perspectives concerning medical issues, status, faith, race, ethnicity, language and many other factors. In addition, the sonography industry is better positioned to serve the clients who are coming from the growing minority populations by having greater numbers of minority ARDMS registered sonographers working in medical facilities. In addition, non-minority sonographers should prepare for the future by developing the cultural sensitivity needed to deliver quality care. These issues are discussed in many CAAHEP accredited programs in Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
Sonographers Deliver Affordable Services
As the population demographics shift, another change is occurring. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) is increasing the number of people with health insurance and is focused on lowering the cost of health care. Sonographers will assume an even more important position in the health care system because ultrasound imaging is a non-invasive procedure, less expensive than x-raying, and more easily portable since no radiation is involved. Even more importantly, technology is continually advancing, and sonographic imaging is increasingly being used for new reasons like in the area of disease detection.
As the minority populations grow, more people are covered by health insurance, and the U.S. focuses on providing greater access to health care services in urban and rural areas, there will be greater emphasis on attracting minorities to the sonography profession. The ACA rollout has been fraught with delays, but that is not going to be the case forever. The future growth of occupations like Diagnostic Medical Sonography will likely exceed projections once the ACA is fully implemented. Minority students who choose to complete a CAAHEP accredited program and become an ARDMS registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer can expect to have an excellent career ahead of them in the changing health care environment.
Purpose-Driven Scholarships Available
There are scholarships that non-minority and minority students can apply for, like the Jerman-Cahoon Student Scholarship fund which awards six $2,500 scholarships each year. However, some scholarships stipulate that only minority students may apply. For example, the Royce Osborn Minority Student Scholarship, funded by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and other donors, offers five $4,000 scholarships to entry-level minority students who plan on completing a program in sonography, nuclear medicine, or radiology.
There are many other sonography scholarships available, and students should contact their state or local radiologic technology or sonography association organizations. For example, the Virginia Society of Radiologic Technologists manages the Laura Ford Student Scholarship and sonography students are encouraged to apply. The applicant must be a member of the society and meet other requirements.
Some of the scholarship programs require post-graduation commitments. For example, the Allied Healthcare Scholarship funds students enrolled in Diagnostic Medical Sonography or other healthcare programs. The scholarship requires a post-graduation commitment of 100 volunteer hours or one-year of service at a qualified California facility. The qualified facilities are in medically underserved areas, areas with a shortage of health professionals, or in facilities that are government operated.
There has never been a better time to consider becoming a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. Minorities with the right credentials are already highly sought after, and the need is only going to grow as the medical facilities concentrate on delivering culturally sensitive health care services. Minorities interested in pursuing a career in health care should add ultrasound technology to the list of program considerations.