Which Strategies are Most Effective for Improving Health Workforce Diversity?


From the NPO

At the upcoming USU Summer Meeting (June 15-16 at Cleveland State University), we will present what our collaborative has learned from working with many institutions to improve health workforce diversity, competence, and distribution in urban communities. Although this will not be a working meeting for Urban Universities for HEALTH, we are looking forward to sharing new knowledge with the broader network of urban universities within USU.  It’s not too late to register for the USU Summer Meeting – visit the event page for more information.

Funding Opportunities

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has issued a call for proposals for national leadership program centers. RWJF will select up to four organizations to receive a three-month planning grant to co-develop and prepare the launch of leadership programs, with a maximum amount of $750,000 per award per program. The deadline to submit a proposal is July 29, 2015.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) is now recruiting for the next class of EIS officers. EIS is a 2-year fellowship in applied epidemiology, open to physicians with at least one year of clinical training, doctoral-level scientists, veterinarians, and other healthcare professionals. EIS officers conduct epidemiologic investigations, research, and public health surveillance around the world. Applications are due August 17, 2015.

The NIH has issued two funding announcements related to health disparities. Advancing Health Disparities Interventions Through Community-Based Participatory Research (U01) will support collaborative intervention projects addressing health disparities (LOI due July 3, 2015). The NIMHD Transdisciplinary Collaborative Centers for Health Disparities Research Focused on Precision Medicine (U54) will assist institutions exploring the potential of precision medicine to promote health equity and reduce health disparities (LOI due August 17, 2015).


The Chronicle of Higher Education recently published an extensive special report on first-generation college students. The report highlights programs that have created pathways to success, describes key barriers such as lack of child care, and includes op-eds from first-generation students reflecting on their experiences.

A Health Affairs blog by Ed Salsberg reports updated numbers for the pipeline of nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and pharmacists, all of whom are integral to the primary care workforce. Patterns across professions show steady, strong growth. Salsberg writes that these data highlight “the importance of considering the pipeline for these providers when we assess our health care workforce needs.”

An opinion piece in the New York Times entitled The Case for Black Doctors describes how increasing the number of black physicians will improve health outcomes for a population that consistently fares the worst in our health care system.

Updates from our demonstration sites include:

The Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) and Medical Mutual of Ohio have partnered to establish the Medical Mutual Pharmacy Scholars Program. In exchange for substantial scholarship support, students must work for one year in an underserved rural or urban community covered by Medical Mutual.

The Brooklyn Free Clinic (BFC), a student-run clinic for the uninsured, recently celebrated 8 years of service to the community. The BFC was founded by medical students attending SUNY Downstate and has grown to include a full-fledged nursing student volunteer program, specialty referrals, and free prescriptions for many common medications.

Upcoming Events

The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) will hold their annual conference and workforce forum on June 1-3 in Alexandria, Virginia.

On June 2, 2015, AAMC will host a webinar entitled Teaching Population Health: Innovative Medical School Curricula for Environmental Health. The 90-minute webinar will feature innovative ways to teach environmental health in clinically relevant scenarios; it will also include an extended audience Q&A session.

The 2015 Quality & Equity Roadmap meeting hosted by the American Hospital Association’s Symposium for Leaders in Healthcare Quality will be held in San Francisco, California on July 22, 2015. The meeting will convene health care professionals with an interest in quality, equity and excellence to advance the shared mission of improving community health.

Early bird registration ends August 31 for the AAMC Annual Meeting, which will take place November 6-10, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Publications and Resources

An article in Academic Medicine describes how the social environment and academic discourse within medical schools can influence students’ identification with family medicine. The researchers studied medical schools in the United Kingdom, Canada, France, and Spain, and concluded that positive discourse and early exposure to family medicine role models impact students’ specialty choices.

A new Institute of Medicine report proposes a streamlined set of 15 standardized measures that health professionals, payers, and policymakers can use to understand and achieve the aim of better health at lower cost. An IOM committee concluded that these measures could provide consistent benchmarks for health progress across the nation and improve system performance in priority areas. Download the report, VITAL SIGNS: Core Metrics for Health and Health Care Progress, or watch the recording of the press release.

A new literature review published in Human Resources for Health revisits more than 60 years of documented research to better understand time-tested methodologies for healthcare workforce planning.

How many new residency spots will we need to avoid a primary care physician shortage by 2035?  A recent article in the Annals of Family Medicine attempts to estimate the projected primary care physician shortage over the next 20 years and determine the amount and composition of residency growth needed. The researchers conclude that residency production must increase by 21% compared with current production.

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