News from the Learning Collaborative


From the National Program Office

Greetings and happy holidays from the Learning Collaborative! It has been a very busy fall for us. In October, the Learning Collaborative convened at the University of Cincinnati for our semi-annual meeting.  At the meeting, participants took a deep dive into the revised list of metrics and shared project updates from their institutions. The meeting included off-site visits to a community-based clinic and local high school that have partnered with UC, as well as a meeting with UC’s Community Advisory Board.
Members of the Learning Partners Network met at the APLU Annual Meeting in Indianapolis to share the results of their ongoing work on health and biomedical research workforce diversity with USU/APLU presidents and chancellors. Over the past six months, a set of cross-institutional working groups have been identifying gaps in evidence for institutional strategies that may improve diversity in the health and biomedical research workforce. The result was a list of action items for the USU/APLU to consider that will improve evidence and ultimately encourage adoption of evidence-based strategies among universities.
Finally, the USU/APLU and AAMC partnership was awarded a $325,000 grant from The California Wellness Foundation to support development of an assessment tool and scorecard for measuring institutional climate. Eight California-based universities will be selected to pilot the tool over the next several years.


Funding Opportunities

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has launched Systems for Action (S4A) a national program that studies novel ways of aligning the delivery and financing systems that support a Culture of Health. To be eligible for funding, studies must address one or more of the research priorities listed in the S4A Research Agenda and focus on one or more novel mechanisms for multi-sector alignment, integration, and improvement. A 3-page LOI is due January 12, 2016.

HRSA is soliciting applications to develop and implement innovative programs to address the oral health workforce needs of designated Dental HPSAs.  Eligible applicants include only Governor-appointed, State government entities, such as the office of the State’s dental director or a State-run university or dental school. Applications are due February 16, 2016.

The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation is soliciting applications for its 2016 Macy Faculty Scholars program. The program aims to accelerate needed reforms in health professions education to accommodate the dramatic changes occurring in medical practice and health care delivery. Each Scholar will receive salary support up to $100,000 per year over two years. Applications are due February 17, 2016.

Other Opportunities

The Xavier University of Louisiana College of Pharmacy is accepting abstracts for poster and podium presentations at the Ninth Health Disparities Conference in late February 2016. Abstracts should highlight interprofessional models integrating research, clinical and community approaches to improve health outcomes, eliminate health disparities, and achieve health equity. The deadline to submit abstracts is January 8, 2016.



Protests over race relations continue on campuses across the United States. The protests have been covered extensively by the media over the past few months; for an update, check out Inside Higher Ed’s recent article Race on Campus: The Latest. The Chronicle of Higher Education is offering readers the opportunity to download a collection of articles on race on campus. A complete list of student demands is available at, or you can read an analysis on the blog Five Thirty Eight Politics.
One of the issues that has been raised by student protesters is faculty diversity. The Chronicle of Higher Education argues that increased diversity is only the first step, as climate and retention issues remain, and HBCUs are concerned about losing their best faculty to competing institutions. Issues related to culture and climate are explored further in an article in the Atlantic, describing the experience of being a black professor on campus.
The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in the ongoing Fisher vs. the University of Texas at Austin case. SCOTUSblog provides a comprehensive analysis of issues at stake in the case. An independent analysis explores what may occur on campuses if a ban on race-conscious admissions is enacted.  In addition, AAMC submitted an amicus brief to the court, which may be of interest to medical educators.
Recent studies have revealed that African American males are severely underrepresented in the field of medicine. An article featuring Virginia Commonwealth University describes what some medical schools are doing to address diversity, including re-thinking admissions requirements.
For the first time in over 20 years, the National Institutes of Health has released an agency-wide strategic plan, which aims to establish a common approach for priority setting across the NIH.
Kaiser Permanente plans to open its own medical school in Southern California, which would enroll its first class in 2019. The school will take a different approach to medical education than established medical schools, focusing on rapid adoption of new technology and coordinated care.

Upcoming Events

Save the date for the USU Summer Meeting June 26-28, 2016! The meeting will be co-hosted by Portland State University in Portland, OR, and will feature an exciting new agenda and interactive meeting format.

Publications and Resources

The National Academy of Medicine recently released its Future of Nursing report, describing the ongoing lack of diversity in the nursing workforce, including both racial/ethnic diversity and gender diversity.
The Prevention Institute has released a set of 35 recommended metrics for measuring the social determinants of health and progress toward achieving health equity. Measuring What Works to Achieve Health Equity: Metrics for the Determinants of Health provides a framework for understanding how disparities in health outcomes are produced and how health equity can be realized.
An examination of the National Postbaccalaureate Collaborative (NPBC), a partnership of postbaccalaureate programs dedicated to helping promising college graduates from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds get into and succeed in medical school, found that graduates of the programs were more likely to be providing care in federally designated underserved areas and practicing in institutional settings that enable access to care for vulnerable populations

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