Diversity in the Health Professions
The sections on diversity for each profession. The reader will reach each one of these when s/he clicks on the given profession on the homepage of the diversity section
Diversity efforts: A list of the AAMC’s efforts on behalf of diversity can be accessed at www.aamc.org/diversity. These initiatives include:
*The Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP), a free six-week summer medical and dental preparatory program, co-sponsored with the American Dental Education Association.
*A pilot marketing campaign, being developed for launching later in 2006, designed to attract well-prepared minority students to medical careers. The campaign will consist of 1) an interactive Web site and “e-community” to provide students with information and inspiration about becoming a doctor; 2) 2 year pilot marketing campaigns (including campus activities, print and Web advertising, and direct marketing) at four undergraduate institutions; 3) enhanced AAMC communications with minority students who participate in the SMDEP and register to take the MCAT; and 4) a new AAMC database by which AAMC-member schools can view the number of undergraduate majors by race or ethnicity and the “medical school applicant yield” for every U.S. undergraduate institution
*The Expanded Medical School Admissions (EMSA) Exercise Working Group which is developing materials for use by medical schools in enhancing the diversity of their classes and implementing an individualized, holistic review process for applicant selection.
*Sponsorship of the College Board Access and Diversity Collaborative, which has, over the past two years, brought together legal, admissions, financial aid and higher education leaders to discuss how to lawfully design and implement selection; recruitment, retention and outreach; and financial aid and scholarship policies and procedures that will help achieve schools’ diversity goals.
2006-2007 AAMC Services and Resources for Students Interested in a Career in Medicine
Aspiring Doctors Website:
"Impressions" is a Student National Dental Association program that provides support to potential dental students by offering a way for college students to learn more about careers in dentistry and the dental school application process.
Impressions provides a way for potential dental school applicants from underrepresented groups to visit dental schools; hold meetings with students and faculty members; gain valuable insight into the admissions process, dental school curriculum, the Dental Admissions Test and financial aid programs; and sometimes engage in mock interviews for as a way to prepare for the admissions process. Participants say Impressions has opened dentistry as a career choice to health-profession oriented students who never would have thought a career in dentistry possible.
The program is just one example of a wide-range of initiatives undertaken by dental students and organizations like the SNDA, the Hispanic Student Dental Association, the Society of American Indian Dentists Student Chapter and the American Student Dental Association to increase the number of underrepresented minorities who seek careers in dentistry.
The ADA’s Student Ambassador Program brings these groups and other national organizations together to provide a forum to initiate and expand student-to-student recruitment activities like Impressions. With funding from GlaxoSmithKline, the Student Ambassador Program held its annual meeting in October 2008 during the ADA annual session in San Antonio, with U.S. dental schools sponsoring 58 student ambassadors.
The Council on Dental Education’s Career Guidance and Diversity Activities Committee began the Student Ambassador Program with the recognition that dental students from underrepresented groups are powerful mentors for college and high school students from similar backgrounds who may be considering a career in the health professions. Many dental students — especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds — have often had to overcome significant obstacles in gaining admission to dental school. Now entering its fourth year, the Student Ambassador Program is moving toward emphasizing collaboration between students and dental school admissions offices and college prehealth advisors.
The most recent meeting of the student ambassadors provided an opportunity for the ambassadors to partner with health advisors and build on the awareness that both groups share similar goals and values in promoting dentistry as a profession. Representatives of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions served as panelists during the meeting — sharing information on the advising process and offering ways to work together to promote dentistry. Ideas like implementing regional meetings between advisors and ambassadors, communicating with advisors through their national publications and referring requests for dentistry career presentations to local ambassadors were all discussed.
Advisors to the Health Professions can access ambassador contact information at the Advisor Member only site.
For more information on the Student Ambassador Program, contact Beverly Skoog, career guidance programs liaison at the ADA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cultural Competency in Nursing Education
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) received a grant from The California Endowment (CAE) three years ago to develop Cultural Competencies in Baccalaureate Nursing Education. These competencies apply to practice in a variety of healthcare settings, to patients across the wellness-illness continuum, and to patients across the lifespan, in collaboration with the interprofessional healthcare team. In addition, a Cultural Competency Toolkit has been developed to provide resources and exemplars and to facilitate implementation of cultural competencies in baccalaureate nursing education. The Toolkit identifies significant content, teaching-learning activities, and resources that will help faculty integrate cultural competency in nursing curriculum. To review this work, go to www.aacn.nche.edu/Education/cultural.htm
AACN has received an additional grant from The CAE to develop cultural competencies and toolkit for graduate nursing education. This project will be completed in January 2010.
The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) and its member institutions have embraced the concepts of diversity and multiculturalism in optometric education and in the profession. ASCO bases its diversity program on several assumptions including: (1) Greater diversity among health professionals is associated with improved access to care for our diverse society, greater patient choice and satisfaction, better patient-provider communication, and better educational experiences for all students, which will prepare them for the diverse communities they will serve in practice, (2) Diversity is good for optometric education and the profession, and (3) It is the right thing to do.
ASCO has completed the first two phases of its diversity initiatives and is about to embark on the third phase, greater effort towards student diversity and the development of cultural competence module that can be integrated into optometric education both at the classroom and clinical levels.
The first phase was a series of multicultural/diversity symposiums conducted at schools/colleges of optometry. The symposiums were designed to assist optometry colleges/schools in creating, fostering and maintaining an institutional climate that welcomes and embraces diversity and encourages an environment of multiculturalism.
The second phase, the multicultural/diversity mini-grants provided seed money for a specific project; it was designed to assist the schools/colleges of optometry with their long-term diversity /multicultural efforts.
AACP is actively involved in promoting a diverse student body and cultural competence in the pharmacy curriculum. Pharmacy students must learn to understand the needs of individuals of varied ethnic and cultural origins so that they can effectively communicate with and counsel their patients. AACP collaborated with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) on a webcast "Cultural Competence in Health-Professions Training: Considerations for Implementation” in May 2005. The 2006 AACP Interim Meeting content was also devoted to cultural competence and closing the gaps of health disparities. It provided insights to assist pharmacy educators with changing their programs to reflect this new sensibility. During the Interim Meeting AACP partnered with the leading Spanish-language communications company in the US to host a medication brown bag review and health screening in which pharmacy students and faculty provided screenings and medication information for an estimated 1000 attendees. AACP and other associations will offer a four-day interprofessional institute in January 2007 designed to help health professions education faculty and administrators inculcate cultural competence into health professions curricula.
APTA Minority Affairs
The Department of Minority/International Affairs' primary responsibility is providing resources which will assist APTA members become culturally competent practitioners and educating APTA membership and the general public about the importance of valuing cultural diversity in the profession of physical therapy and the Association.
Among its initiatives is the blueprint for teaching cultural competence in physical therapy education. To read the blueprint and/or to learn about the activities of the American Physical Therapy Association please visit diversity_secondPage.
In a landmark study in 2002, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) confirmed that health care disparities are directly related to the perceived ethnicity of patients. For a variety of reasons, the report found that the quality of care differed when there was a discordance of culture or ethnicity between the provider and the patient. In 2004, the IOM published In the Nation’s Compelling Interest: Ensuring Diversity in the Health Professions, in which it called for a more diverse workforce as a measure to decrease health disparities. The rationale for diversity included the following:
Racial and ethnic minority health care providers are more likely to serve minority and medically underserved communities, thereby increasing access to care;
Racial and ethnic minority patients report greater levels of satisfaction with care provided by minority health professionals;
Racial and ethnic minority health care providers can help health systems in efforts to reduce cultural and linguistic barriers and improve cultural competence
Diversity in higher education and health professions training settings is associated with better educational outcomes among all students
Physician assistant educators and their national organization, the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) are committed to provide PA students with the tools needed to provide patients with culturally and socially sensitive health care. The Committee on Ethnic and Cultural Diversity (CECD) is charged with leading this effort for our profession. The CECD has promoted Cultural Competencies for Physician Assistants and has a website with resources and modules for teaching cultural competence. Its members and supporters have provided presentations on health literacy, culturally competent care, the unequal delivery of health care, stereotyping and institutionalized racism in health care, and workshops on facilitating the teaching of culturally competent health care. The Journal of Physician Assistant Education has a section dedicated as Cultural Perspectives. Several articles by PAs on cultural competence and health care disparities have been previously published and an article on unconscious bias of health providers is due to be published in our next issue.
Some of our research projects include the diversity of PA students and faculty, especially the number of Underrepresented Minorities in Medicine; recruitment and retention efforts of minority students and faculty; and best practices in the teaching and evaluation of cultural competency. We are eager to work jointly with other groups in an effort to promote diversity in our profession and improve the training of our students.
Schools of public health are concerned with recruiting underrepresented minorities into their student population; however the biggest challenge is having a diverse faculty.
33.8% percent of students were members of minority groups
Minority students constituted 25.2 percent of U.S. students in 1995 compared with 33.8 percent in 2004. In 2005, foreign nationals constituted 15.0 percent of the total student body.
The data report can be found at www.asph.org/document.cfm?page=749.
Schools of Public Health and American Indian/Alaska Native Communities
by Mah-Sere Keita Sow, MPH
(originally published in the December, 2005, Advisor)
The DiVersity Matters initiative of the AAVMC continues to raise awareness about the importance and need for increased racial and ethnic diversity within veterinary medicine. In the first full year of the initiative, the percentage of underrepresented minority students in US colleges of veterinary medicine grew by over .5 percent. More concrete data is also collected concerning faculty within the colleges.
The Association continues to increase visibility in communities of color by exhibiting at national conferences, hosting career fairs and developing targeted informational brochures including the new, “Caring for Your Community” brochure which features African American veterinarians and veterinary students. Upcoming DiVersity Matters projects include the release of findings from the benchmarking survey conducted earlier this year and a mailing of the Veterinary Medical School Application Requirements book to targeted minority serving institutions. More information about the initiative can be found on the DiVersity Matters page of the AAVMC website, www.aavmc.org.