Data, dashboards, and a new partnership


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From the National Program Office

Happy holidays from the Urban Universities for HEALTH National Program Office! Before you leave for break, check out what’s happening at our demonstration sites:

Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) and the Mercy Health system have announced an innovative partnership to address the region’s primary care needs while developing a diverse healthcare workforce dedicated to serving local communities. Through the new partnership, among the first of its kind between a health system and academic health center, Mercy Health will provide full-tuition scholarships to NEOMED students who qualify in exchange for their future service commitments to Mercy Health following residency training.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City conducted a seminar earlier this month on how its health sciences schools are working together to promote and implement interprofessional education. UMKC is also pleased to report that more than 100 middle and high school students enrolled this year in their Saturday Academy, a seven-month enrichment program focused on math and science as well as ACT prep. A new element this year is a health care component in which professionals talk to the students about their particular area of health care.

Dr. Justin Perry from the Cleveland State University team was featured in the CSU ENGAGED blog for his leadership with “Making My Future Work,” a pilot project to promote college and career readiness among urban youth.

Our national study on holistic admissions in the health professions continues to receive media coverage and citations, including articles this month in Dr. Bicuspid and DentistryIQ .

Funding Opportunities

The NIH has posted a number of funding opportunities related to diversity and health disparities over the past few weeks, including: 1) funding to conduct health disparities-related meetings, workshops, and symposia – applications are due December 29; 2) supplemental funding to support research experiences for early career physicians and medical students from underrepresented backgrounds; 3) funding for research that targets reduction of health disparities among children; and 4) support for research on health promoting behaviors among minority males.

In addition, NIH “K Award” applications are due January 12, for National Cancer Institute mentored research scientists (K01 and K08) and scientists with patient-oriented research careers.

The American Medical Association has announced their Minority Scholars Award, which provides tuition assistance scholarships to underrepresented minority students. Medical schools may nominate up to two students. All nominations are due by March 6, 2015 at 5pm CST.


The number of medical schools with student-run free clinics has more than doubled, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Medical students volunteering in these settings reported that student-run free clinics provide valuable services to the underserved and enrich students’ educational experiences. However, they are challenged to obtain sufficient faculty staffing and funding.

The way physicians treat patients in medical settings may be contributing to racial disparities in mental health care, according to a new study in Health Services Research. Among the findings: Asian-Americans reported that they were less likely to be asked about mental health issues than non-Hispanic whites, and blacks were less likely to receive medication recommendations for mental health or substance abuse problems.  A related article noted that patients with mental illness typically do not receive the same quality of care, and that stigma surrounding mental illness may be responsible for the dearth of interest in psychiatry residencies.

A new report finds that minority students are studying public health in growing numbers, and that the public health workforce overall is more diverse than other health professions. The authors hypothesize that minorities may be more interested in public health because they have a personal connection with it, recognizing opportunities to return to their communities and make a difference.

In Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, Dr. Valerie Purdie-Vaughns from Columbia University describes how targeted classroom interventions can help eliminate stereotype threat among African-American students and close achievement gaps. Stereotype threat is a phenomenon among individuals that internalize feelings of inadequacy linked to negative stereotypes about groups they are identified with and subsequently live up to such stereotypes, leading to academic underperformance in a classroom setting.

An article in The Washington Post explores why medical schools should teach human rights, arguing that doing so is critical to producing doctors who can care for all patients in our increasingly diverse nation.

Jon Boeckenstedt argues in the Chronicle of Higher Education that the admissions office, rather than being part of the solution to college access issues, is actually making itself part of the problem “by creating a game that is heavily skewed in favor of students from high-income, well-educated families.”

Finally, a joint op-ed by USU presidents Michael Crow of Arizona State University and Mark Becker of Georgia State University was published in CNN. The op-ed highlighted disparities in higher education attainment, especially among low-income students and students of color, and ended with a call to action for universities to work together to create more opportunities for students and build a stronger society.

Upcoming Events

Save the date: The AAMC and CDC will hold an informal, interactive webinar about available resources and tools for conducting Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs), including a toolkit to be released in 2015. The webinar will take place on February 5, 2015, from 3:00-4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Additional information is forthcoming.

For those who wish to register early and save, the “early bird” registration fee is now available for the 2015 APLU Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, IN. The reduced rate will be available until January 19, 2015.

Publications and Resources

National data on characteristics of the registered nurse workforce is now available on a quarterly basis from the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

These data originate from three federal surveys, and have been compiled to analyze trends related to age, gender, wages, race and ethnicity, educational preparation, full- and part-time employment, and other characteristics of the RN workforce across both hospital and non-hospital settings.

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio has released a dashboard designed to track Ohio’s progress toward improving health care value, specifically the relationship between health outcomes and health costs.

An AAMC Analysis in Brief explores how member hospitals are conducting community health needs assessments and engaging with their communities to improve health.

An article in Academic Medicine reviews the breadth of changes to medical education with an eye to the future, including learning and the learning environment, competency and assessment, workforce issues, admissions, and wellness.

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