UC launches social media campaign


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From the National Program Office

The Learning Collaborative held a successful in-person working meeting last week in Scottsdale, AZ. At the meeting, we refined the first iteration of a dashboard for key health workforce metrics, reviewed existing data sources for longitudinal tracking of students, and presented completed projects to be published and disseminated broadly.  A summary of meeting highlights and key lessons learned will be shared in the next issue.

The University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center launched an innovative social media campaign to engage local students around health career pathways. The campaign includes a video and a fun, Buzzfeed-style quiz designed to help students identify a health discipline that fits their personality.  The UC AHC hopes that the campaign will help them recruit more diverse students from area high schools and engage them earlier in planning for a health career. The project was conducted as part of UC’s participation in the Urban Universities for HEALTH initiative, and received additional funding through a competitive process. The launch was also covered by the USU’s Urban University blog. We are thrilled about the launch of this new resource and look forward to seeing it in action! 

Funding Opportunities

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Simons Foundation have created a new partnership to provide research support to outstanding early-career scientists. The philanthropies will award $150 million over the next five years to promising scientists with potential to make unique contributions to their field. Awards will range from $100,000-$400,000 for direct costs as well as 20 percent in indirect costs to the scientist’s home institution. In addition to funding, the program will provide mentoring opportunities and other resources. Scientists who wish to be considered for this competition must submit their completed applications through the HHMI website by July 28, 2015.

The Department of Health and Human Services will award up to $500,000 per recipient through the National Workforce Diversity Pipeline Program (NWDP). The program seeks to address health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities by supporting networks of institutions with capacity to establish pipeline programs to increase minority student pursuit of health careers. Colleges and universities are eligible to apply, and applications are due May 18, 2015.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) will award small research grants in the amount of $100,000 for different types of health services research projects including pilot and feasibility studies, secondary analysis of existing data, and development of research methodology. Applications will be accepted beginning May 16, 2015, with Cycle II applications due June 16 and Cycle III applications due October 16.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded funding to 48 nurses at 25 schools of nursing through the Future of Nursing Scholars program.  Recipients include two scholars at the University of Cincinnati, and two scholars at the University of Minnesota.

The American Academy of Nursing’s Institute for Nursing Leadership has launched a new strategy to increase nurse participation on governing boards.  This push is in response to the 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report which recommended nurses increase their presence on governing boards to improve the health care system.

Yale University has announced that it will launch a new, online physician assistant (PA) program. Accreditation for the program is still pending but, if approved, it would become the nation’s first fully online PA degree program.

A special issue of Fast Company, The Future of Work, includes an article highlighting the non-profit PhD Project for its efforts to increase the diversity of university faculty. The program uses mentoring, coaching, and peer-support networks to increase doctoral student success. Although health care fields are not included in the project, the strategies employed have strong outcomes and may be of benefit to other disciplines seeking to learn from the project’s experience. For example, the minority doctoral completion rate for students in the PhD Project is 90%, while the average overall U.S. doctoral program completion rate is just 70%.

A new medical residency program in southwest Florida aims to train young physicians as family practice doctors in an already medically underserved community and (ideally) persuade them to practice in the area once their residencies are complete. The new program was described in an article by USA Today, which also noted that a group of Florida teaching and safety net hospitals has formally asked state lawmakers for $20 million in recurring funds to create new residency slots for high-demand specialties.

Another USA Today article describes how, contrary to popular expectations, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has not dramatically increased demand for health care services. The authors note that uninsured patients make up a much lower proportion of visitors to primary care doctors than before, especially in states that expanded Medicaid, but that “the delivery system is able to handle the demand.”

Upcoming Events

Physicians may be interested in attending the 2015 National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) Leadership Summit on Health Disparities. The conference will take place from April 20-21, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Health Datapalooza will be held May 31-June 3, 2015 in Washington, DC. This national conference brings together the companies, agencies, and individuals with the newest and most innovative uses of health data to improve patient outcomes.

The 10th Annual USU Summer Meeting will be held June 15-16, 2015 at Cleveland State University. The theme of this year’s meeting is “Deep Collaboration: Urban Universities Shaping the Future of the City.” Registration is open and early-bird rates continue through May 25th.

Publications and Resources

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has released its 2015 County Health Rankings. The key findings report includes a summary of national data with metrics for health workforce, education, and population health outcomes. The report finds that although premature death rates have declined nationwide, significant health disparities remain. New this year: an indicator for income inequality.

AAMC published a resource for educators and researchers interested in assessing the impact of cultural competence education and training. The report provides an inventory of studies related to cultural competence, tools for evaluating the quality and psychometric properties of existing surveys, and sample evaluation frameworks.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has released a new report, Equal Talents, Unequal Opportunities: A Report Card on State Support for Academically Talented Low-Income Students. The report grades states on 18 simple metrics and finds that state policies nationwide fail to support high-potential students from low-income backgrounds.

The Commonwealth Fund has published an issue brief describing how health insurance can reduce disparities in access to care.

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