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March 2009

Volume 29 | Number 1

Special Theme: Diversity Matters


Matters of Race and Ethnicity

Introduction to the Abstracts

In the Editor’s Corner, Carol Baffi-Dugan offers thoughtful comments for each issue of The Advisor. Like the Preface sets the stage for reading a book, The Editor’s Corner introduces the articles assembled and provides context for their inclusion. The comments foregrounding the March 2009 issue’s special theme, “Diversity Matters,” remind us that what we do is not narrowly focused on providing advice about course selection. The tone of the Editor’s Corner is uplifting; the hope is that after reading this issue “you feel pushed, challenged and even a bit uncomfortable.” Three of the articles in this issue are reprints; we traditionally have not provided abstracts for reprinted articles. We recommend reading them, as well as the Editor’s Corner and the Book Review of Anatomy of Hope. Taken together, this issue will provide a plethora of topics for continued discussion and action.

How Do You See Me?
Michael Ellison, Ph.D.

Dr. Ellison’s synthesis of his research on African American Male Leaders in Higher Education personalizes the facts with a quote from and reflections on Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. This is followed by historical and demographic information (e.g., “African American, Hispanic Americans, and American Indians combined make up 25% of the U.S. population but only 9% of the nation’s nurses, 6% of physicians, and 5% of dentists.”) He reminds us too that “college campuses are also witnessing a decrease in the number of African American males who qualify for acceptance…” (In a 1997 report, 1 out of 3 African American males between 18 and 30 years of age were either incarcerated or “ensnared by the criminal justice system") Dr. Ellison writes, “As advisors, we advise in a way that is framed by our experiences, values and cultural awareness. The direction he suggests is toward a more holistic approach whereby “All of us can make a difference by embracing and working toward creating a diverse society.”

"Change Has Come": Celebrate, but DO NOT Become Complacent
Thomas Landefeld, Ph.D.

Perhaps Dr. Landefeld’s call to action applies more for the years that follow 2009 than for 2009 itself. He makes a case for engaging in discussion, commitment, participation, and sacrifice, all of which are required more now than ever before if progress is to occur. And, he writes, “we can never, as a nation, reach our full potential unless we are inclusive of all groups.”

Increasing the Enrollment of Underrepresented Minority Dental Students: Experiences from the Dental Pipeline Program
Shelia S. Price, D.D.S., Ed.D.
W. David Brunson, D.D.S.
Dennis A. Mitchell, D.D.S., M.P.H.
Charles J. Alexander, Ph.D.
Douglass L. Jackson, D.M.D., M.S., Ph.D.

Dental educators have been trying to increase enrollment of underrepresented minority (URM) students for many years with limited success. The Pipeline, Professions and Practice: Community-Based Dental Education program has developed or been affiliated with several innovative strategies for increasing the enrollment of URM students in US dental schools.

In March 2005, three promising approaches were discussed at an American Dental Education Association symposium and are described in this article.

  1. Collaborative recruitment programs based on groups of regional schools
  2. Workshops that focus on the effective operation of admissions committees
  3. A new summer enrichment program for college students interested in dentistry and medicine

This report presents preliminary findings from the Pipeline, Professions, and Practice: Community-Based Dental Education program which was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the California Endowment.

Addressing Dental Health Care Disparities Through a Dental-Specific Post-Baccalaureate Program
Harry A. Brody, D.D.S., M.Ed.
Barry S. Rothman, Ph.D.

This article compliments the one immediately preceding, “Increasing the Enrollment of Underrepresented Minority Dental Students: Experiences from the Dental Pipeline Program,” reprinted by permission of the Journal of Dental Education. In “Addressing Dental Health Care Disparities,” Dr. Brody and Dr. Rothman describe two related dental post-baccalaureate programs (12 month and 18 month) operated in cooperation with the University of California, San Francisco, School of Dentistry and the University of the Pacific’s Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. The authors provide the rationale for developing the Dental Specific Post-Baccalaureate Program, selection criteria used to identify program participants, and details about the twelve program elements. In addition to increasing awareness of the program, advisors might draw from the program elements when looking for strategies to enhance the retention and success of undergraduate populations.



Matters of Geography

Exploring Rural Health Careers: Another Experience in Understanding Diversity
Linda Cragin, M.S.

The author provides a history of the Area Health Education Center Program (AHEC) in the context of Massachusetts ’ rural needs, but the application and information extends across the country. There are AHEC programs in almost every state. They are dedicated to recruiting, training and retaining “a health professions workforce committed to underserved populations.” These programs offer opportunities for career exploration, internships and clinical rotations, medical interpreter and community health worker training, health literacy awareness, and continuing education. Ms. Cragin states: “Our job as advisors, advocates, and mentors is to encourage students to look beyond what they know and explore…opportunities in rural health care are many…” She also reminds us that “a student who comes from a small town or rural community may understand the opportunities but not always know the path to return to his/her hometown as a professional.” A list of resources is offered at the end of the article.

Courses in Rural Health Care: A Cooperative New Vision
David Hutto, Ph.D.
Debra Kirchhof-Glazier, Ph.D.



Matters of Class

Pilot study to begin to identify how to keep community college students in the pipeline to medicine: a detailed description
David Thurlow, Ph.D.

This article provides community college student population demographics. The author then summarizes discussions held at the 2007 NEAAHP meeting and the 2008 NAAHP meeting in Chicago. Direct quotes from community college advisors provide insights into the challenges they face and the strengths they can add to an advisor knowledge base. The importance of communication is emphasized, with recommendations for strengthening the capacity of NAAHP, regional advisor organizations, and the professional organizations (e.g., AACOM, AAMC) to engage in establishing ongoing ties with community college pre-health advisors. Advisors at 4-year institutions are encouraged to connect with colleagues at community colleges to facilitate the advising of students who transfer to 4-year institutions. “Community colleges are more likely to have greater diversity and have students who have low mental horizons solely because they have no exposure to the broad opportunities that exist…These are not second class citizens. They must be able to dream and have the dreams realized.”

The Health Professions Strive for Diversity
Fred G. Donini-Lenhoff, M.A.



Highlighting a Profession

Coming together, moving apart: A history of the term "allied health" in education, accreditation, and practice
Fred G. Donini-Lenhoff, M.A.

Book Review: The Anatomy of Hope
Book by Jerome Groopman
Review by Peter Van Houten, Ph.D.

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