Black Medical Student Goes Viral on TikTok By Addressing Racial Disparities in Health
A Black medical student who gained a large following on TikTok by debunking health care and racial disparities in medicine has received a $25,000 scholarship.
Joel Bervell is known as the “Medical Mythbuster” on TikTok. With over 600,000 followers and over 110 million impressions, Bervell has made a name for himself while studying to become a doctor in a field where only 5% of physicians are Black, KGW8 reported.
@joelbervell I was on television for one of my TikToks that went viral about a device called a pulse oximeter in Medicine that doesn’t work as well in darker skin! #pulseoximeter #medicine #doctor #nurse #healthcare #joelbervell ♬ original sound – joelbervell
Bervell is currently studying orthopedic surgery at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and is scheduled to graduate in 2024. He graduated from Yale University before becoming one of the first Black medical students at Washington State University.
The $25,000 scholarship is part of Taco Bell’s Live Mas foundation aimed at helping those pursuing higher education. The grants range from $5,000 to $25,000; Bervell secured one of the larger grants.
When asked if he expected to win the grant, Bervell said, “definitely not.”
“Honestly when I found out I was surprised,” he said. “They actually brought my parents down and had all my teachers.”
“I was at the clinic that day. the physician I was with in pediatrics she had me walk outside and suddenly there was my family, all my friends; there was my mentor from my medical school.”
Attending medical school isn’t cheap, and Bervell plans to put the grant to good use.
“So, being able to have financial support like this means the world to myself, to other recipients as well,” he said. “Because we are able to focus on what matters. Which is working, getting good grades, making sure we’re prepared for the future so that we can go out into the workforce and really make a difference.”