Albuquerque, NM - On March 3-4, 2014, the Urban Universities for HEALTH Learning Collaborative successfully held its 2014 Annual Meeting at the University of New Mexico (UNM) campus. The meeting focused on how universities are measuring the impact of their efforts on the diversity and cultural competence of the health workforce, particularly with regard to alleviating disparities in their local areas.
Leaders from the five university demonstration sites shared their ideas for solutions to common health workforce challenges, and generated new strategies for capturing evidence and working more closely with communities. The meeting marked the conclusion of Phase 1 of the Urban Universities for HEALTH project, during which the demonstration sites assessed local community health needs and developed a set of priority community health outcomes aligned with institutional goals. The group emerged from the meeting with a set of high-priority projects to address over the course of the next year.
The following are a few highlights from the two-day meeting:
Visiting university teams learned from Dr. Paul Roth, Chancellor of the Health Sciences Center, about UNM’s experience implementing Vision 2020. UNM’s aim in creating Vision 2020 was to work with community partners to help New Mexico make more progress in health and health equity than any other state by 2020. Dr. Roth discussed UNM’s success in aligning each of the Health Sciences Center colleges to better achieve the vision and measure its impact in the community. Participants also traveled off campus to visit sites in a local underserved community where UNM’s Health Sciences Center is conducting its work.
Participants contributed their feedback on a series of learning products that they will work together to complete this year. Examples include: a framework for health workforce metrics that will aid development of a metrics dashboard, a web-based resource for assessing community health needs, and a publication on priority community health outcomes that universities can seek to impact through their health workforce efforts.
Demonstration site teams presented a set of pilot projects currently in development on their campuses that target key health workforce outcomes for their communities. Examples include: expansion of a successful pipeline program that engages high school students in community health projects, and leveraging social media and other web-based resources to attract more potential students from local underserved communities.
Participants left the meeting with an agreed-upon set of goals and next steps for Phase 2 of the project. Over the next year, sites will work together to develop metrics aligned with priority community health outcomes in each of their cities, as well as metrics that can be scaled for use among universities nationwide.
To learn more about what the Learning Collaborative accomplished, read the full-length article published by the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center Newsbeat.
About Urban Universities for HEALTH
Urban Universities for HEALTH (Health Equity through Alignment, Leadership and Transformation of the Health Workforce) is a partnership effort of the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU)/Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the NIH National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). The project aims to address the severe shortage of qualified health professionals in underserved areas by leveraging the power of urban universities to enhance and expand a culturally sensitive, diverse, and prepared health workforce.