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Health career recruitment for minority students

Health Factors: Education
Decision Makers: Educators State Government
Evidence Rating: Scientifically Supported
Population Reach: <1% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: Likely to decrease disparities

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Description

Programs to recruit and train racial and ethnic minority students for careers in health fields generally include academic support and professional experiences for high school, college, or post-baccalaureate students, and may also offer financial support (US DHHS-Diversity programs 2009). Programs serve American students or foreign nationals who worked as health professionals before immigrating to the United States (Fernandez-Pena 2011). Programs can include information about health careers, classes, practicum experiences, advising about college or medical school admissions (Winkleby 2007), educational case management, or health-focused English as a second language (ESL) training (Fernandez-Pena 2011). Minorities comprise more than a quarter of Americans, but only 10% of health professionals (Noonan 2013).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Increased academic achievement
Increased high school graduation
Increased college enrollment
Increased diversity of health care workforce

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is strong evidence that programs to recruit and train racial and ethnic minority students for careers in health improve participants’ academic achievement. Overall, programs can increase participants’ grades, likelihood of high school graduation, SAT scores, and college entry. Post-baccalaureate programs can increase medical school entry. Undergraduate-focused programs can increase college retention, graduation, and medical school acceptance (US DHHS-Diversity programs 2009).

In programs for undergraduates, longer interventions may yield stronger effects than shorter programs. Summer enrichment experiences can increase the likelihood of medical school acceptance, and research mentorships may increase the likelihood that students will complete the program. Experts recommend that these programs identify participants in their early college years so students can complete pre-health math and science courses with grades strong enough for medical school acceptance (US DHHS-Diversity programs 2009). Targeted pre-collegiate science courses offered in high schools or a university-based setting can also help prepare students to participate successfully in such programs (Winkleby 2009, Winkleby 2007). Studies of the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program (SMYSP), a 5-week summer residential program for low income high school students interested in health careers, suggest that ongoing assessment, sharing of results, and strong partnerships between local organizations and universities committed to ethnic and income diversity throughout the educational pipeline are important to program sustainability (Winkleby 2007). 

In some circumstances, programs to recruit and train American-born minority health professionals can increase the number of health professionals from racial and ethnic minority groups (Nivet 2014, US DHHS-Diversity programs 2009). Programs serving immigrants with previous health professional training may increase educational attainment, income, and health care workforce participation for these individuals (Fernandez-Pena 2011).

Minority patients that visit health professionals of the same race often report feeling more satisfied with care, having better communication, and longer visits than patients visiting providers of another race (AHRQ-Kronick 2014, Gilliss 2010, CWF-Cooper 2004). Sharing a language with a provider can also improve patient satisfaction and reduce disparities in quality and use of care (AHRQ-Kronick 2014). Minority health professionals appear more likely to practice in primary care and inner city settings than their peers (Gilliss 2010, Winkleby 2007). 

Implementation

United States

Many divisions of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) support programs to recruit and train minority health professionals. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), for example, supports programs for minority students in medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, and other health professions, including K-12 programs through the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP). The federal Office of Minority Health builds program capacity for post-secondary institutions that primarily serve minorities. Other agencies offer scholarships directly to students (US DHHS-Diversity programs 2009). Nonprofit organizations such as New Careers in Nursing also support programs and offer scholarships to increase health care workforce diversity (RWJF-NCIN).

A 2007 assessment of federal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education support programs suggests limited support for the K-12 programming that prepares students for collegiate-focused programs (ACC).

Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) system supports programs that prepare minority students to enter health professional schools (WI AHEC).

Implementation Resources

AHEC - The National AHEC Organization. Area Health Education Centers (AHEC). Accessed on January 27, 2016
Duke-MADIN 2012 - Duke University School of Nursing. Second cohort of Making a Difference in Nursing (MADIN) II Scholars arrives at Duke; 2012. Accessed on January 28, 2016
RWJF-Brown 2013 - Brown M.  Summer Medical and Dental Education (SMDE) Program. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF); 2013. Accessed on February 1, 2016
RWJF-NCIN - Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). New careers in nursing. Accessed on January 28, 2016
SMYSP - Stanford School of Medicine. Stanford Medical Youth Science Program (SMYSP). Accessed on February 2, 2016
US DHHS-Diversity programs 2009 - US Department of Health & Human Services (US DHHS). Pipeline programs to improve racial and ethnic diversity in the health professions: An inventory of federal programs, assessment of evaluation approaches, and critical review of the research literature; 2009. Accessed on March 17, 2017
US DHHS-HCOP - US Department of Health and Human Services (US DHHS). Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP). Accessed on March 16, 2017

Citations - Description

Fernandez-Pena 2011* - Fernández-Peña JR. Integrating immigrant health professionals into the US health care workforce: a report from the field. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. 2011;14:441-448. Accessed on January 27, 2016
Noonan 2013* - Noonan A, Lindong I, Jaitley VN. The role of historically black colleges and universities in training the health care workforce. American Journal of Public Health. 2013;103(3):412-5. Accessed on February 1, 2016
US DHHS-Diversity programs 2009 - US Department of Health & Human Services (US DHHS). Pipeline programs to improve racial and ethnic diversity in the health professions: An inventory of federal programs, assessment of evaluation approaches, and critical review of the research literature; 2009. Accessed on March 17, 2017
Winkleby 2007 - Winkleby MA. The Stanford Medical Youth Science Program: 18 years of a biomedical program for low-income high school students. Academic Medicine. 2007;82(2):139-45. Accessed on January 27, 2016

Citations - Evidence

AHRQ-Kronick 2014 - Kronick R, Clancy C, Munier W, et al. 2013 national healthcare quality report. Rockville: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ); 2014. Accessed on February 10, 2016
CWF-Cooper 2004 - Cooper LA, Powe NR. Disparities in patient experiences, health care processes, and outcomes: The role of patient-provider racial, ethnic, and language concordance. New York: The Commonwealth Fund (CWF); 2004. Accessed on March 20, 2017
Fernandez-Pena 2011* - Fernández-Peña JR. Integrating immigrant health professionals into the US health care workforce: a report from the field. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. 2011;14:441-448. Accessed on January 27, 2016
Gilliss 2010* - Gilliss CL, Powell DL, Carter B. Recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce in nursing: From evidence to best practices to policy. Policy, Politics & Nursing Practice. 2010;11(4):294-301. Accessed on February 1, 2016
Nivet 2014 - Nivet M, Berlin A. Workforce diversity and community-responsive health-care institutions. Public Health Reports. 2014;129(2):15-18. Accessed on January 28, 2016
US DHHS-Diversity programs 2009 - US Department of Health & Human Services (US DHHS). Pipeline programs to improve racial and ethnic diversity in the health professions: An inventory of federal programs, assessment of evaluation approaches, and critical review of the research literature; 2009. Accessed on March 17, 2017
Winkleby 2007 - Winkleby MA. The Stanford Medical Youth Science Program: 18 years of a biomedical program for low-income high school students. Academic Medicine. 2007;82(2):139-45. Accessed on January 27, 2016
Winkleby 2009* - Winkleby MA, Ned J, Ahn D, Koehler A, Kennedy J. Increasing diversity in science and health professions: A 21-year longitudinal study documenting college and career success. Journal of Science Education and Technology. 2009;18(6):535-545. Accessed on March 7, 2016

Citations - Implementation

ACC - US Department of Education (US ED). Report of the Academic Competitiveness Council, Washington DC, 2007. Accessed on March 7, 2016
RWJF-NCIN - Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). New careers in nursing. Accessed on January 28, 2016
US DHHS-Diversity programs 2009 - US Department of Health & Human Services (US DHHS). Pipeline programs to improve racial and ethnic diversity in the health professions: An inventory of federal programs, assessment of evaluation approaches, and critical review of the research literature; 2009. Accessed on March 17, 2017
WI AHEC - Wisconsin Area Health Education Center (AHEC) system. Accessed on February 1, 2016

Page Last Updated

January 23, 2015

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