This document is a guide for developing and enhancing academic institutions' support of high quality pre-health advising for their students. The academic institution is best served in using this document with its companion document on “Best practices for Pre-Health Advisors,” given that there is a symbiotic relationship between the two.
The expression of the best practices listed below will of necessity differ from institution to institution, depending on specifics such as size, mission, and structure. Institutions are encouraged to meet the best practices in a manner appropriate to their settings.
Throughout, "institution" refers to the institution of higher education where the pre-health advisor is employed, and "program" refers to the pre-health advising program.
An academic institution that supports an effective pre-health advising program:
This document is a guide for developing and enhancing high-quality pre-health advising for students at institutions of higher education. This document will be most helpful if used in conjunction with its companion document, "Best Practices for Academic Institutions Supporting Pre-Health Advising,” given that there is a symbiotic relationship between the two.
At institutions of higher education, pre-health advisors serve in a variety of positions – as academic advisors, career counselors, student services personnel, instructional faculty, administrators, retired or practicing health care professional, etc. – and the expression of the best practices listed below will of necessity differ from position to position. The expression will also differ between the Chief Health Professions Advisor (CHPA) and those who serve under the CHPA, as well as between pre-health advisors working together in an office and those serving as the sole pre-health advisor for their institution. Pre-health advisors are encouraged to meet the best practices in a manner appropriate to their positions, funding, location, size of office, and staff support.
A pre-health advisor:
Provides appropriate physical space, institutional services, training, and resources for the health professions advisor(s) to meet the needs of health professions students.
Situates the health professions advising office in a location where it can best serve its entire population, have adequate authority and administrative support, and contribute to the overall institutional mission.
Provides advisors fair compensation that aligns with that of peer and benchmark institutions.
Provides financial resources for health professions advisors for ongoing professional development, organizational memberships, travel, subscriptions, and educational materials to maintain and enhance competence.
Promotes a policy of diversity and inclusion which, in all matters pertaining to faculty, staff, students, and advisory board and/or health professions committee, embraces the broad range of human differences and potential.
Provides resources for the creation and maintenance of an advisory board and/or pre-health committee, as well as recognition of those who support the health professions advising program.
Develops a system for maintaining accurate health professions advising records that meets FERPA standards.
Provides for a system that identifies and tracks health professions students, that is accessible to health professions advisor(s), and that makes it possible to compile data and analyze statistics about the health professions population.
Provides for a website offering information for prospective and current students and alumni.
Establishes, in collaboration with the health professions advisor(s), a plan for assessing the health professions advising program and its student learning outcomes.
Benchmarks the health professions program, its practices, and its advisor training process with those in similarly structured institutions.
Encourages its alumni office to foster engagement and networking between alumni, the health professions advisor(s), and current health professions students.
Articulates the vision, mission, and philosophy of the program and explains how health professions advising contributes to achieving the vision, mission, and philosophy of the institution.
Manages available resources and advocates as needed for additional resources.
Manages the program office efficiently, maintains accurate and confidential student records, and develops advising initiatives, programs, and services as needed.
Develops and maintains a health professions advising syllabus that articulates the program’s mission, curriculum, student learning outcomes, and advisor and student responsibilities.
Develops a system for training new health professions advisors, and develops and maintains appropriate training materials.
Manages the program's internal and external relationships by serving as the program's spokesperson, operating in partnership with other student and advising services on campus, and ensuring the program serves the needs of the health professions population, the institution, and the community.
Develops into and serves as a knowledgeable and skilled advisor who exhibits professional values and behaviors.
Develops and shares expertise in health professions advising with students, colleagues, and the community.
Operates with a professional development plan that includes short- and long-term career goals. Engages regularly in professional development and scholarship, both as a member of the institution’s academic community and as a member of the local, regional, and national health professions advising communities.
Tracks the health professions population and maintains statistics about the population and program.
Develops and maintains a comprehensive assessment of the health professions advising program.
Coordinates or oversees a health professions committee and/or advisory board that informs the direction of the health professions advising program.