Washington, DC - Earlier this week, Urban Universities for HEALTH held a press conference to release the results of the National Study on University Admissions in the Health Professions. Dr. Greer Glazer, Associate Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing presented the results to a packed audience at the National Press Club’s First Amendment Lounge in Washington, DC. Dr. M. Roy Wilson, President of Wayne State University, then led a panel of higher education and health leaders in discussion of the findings and their impact on universities, students, and the future health workforce.
“The ultimate goal here is to have the best workforce possible, a workforce that understands the needs of the community, and a workforce that will ultimately be sensitive enough that we can have better health outcomes for minority populations and those that are underserved,” said Dr. Yvonne Maddox, Acting Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) at the National Institutes of Health, which funded the study. “When the workforce is diverse and representative of community it serves, there is a patient trust element that comes into play, and ultimately we see patients in our communities get better treatment."
Dr. Darrell Kirch, president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), reflected upon the implications of the study for the future physician workforce. "There's so much more to being a good doctor than just your test scores,” he said. "I wager that there is no one in this room who, when you meet your doctor, you ask them what their grade point average is. But you do notice their bedside manner. You do notice the way they communicate with you, and the way they relate to you."
The Temple Option, an test-score optional admissions pathway for students applying to Temple University, is another strategy related to holistic review that is designed to expand access to higher education for disadvantaged students. "We received 12,000 applicants for 200 slots this year,” said Dr. Neil D. Theobald, president of Temple University. “If we're going to be open to students from all backgrounds – and that is our mission – we're going to need to look at other ways to gather data than simply looking at their board scores."
The event was webcast to more than 500 individual viewers spanning several hundred U.S. cities as well as 7 foreign countries. The study and press event were covered by multiple news outlets, including the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed.