Through Urban Universities for HEALTH, the University of New Mexico seeks to establish a robust process for health workforce data collection and evaluation that will inform the education programs of University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNM HSC) health professions, including pipeline programs, admissions, curriculum, learning venues, and service-learning sites, in order to produce a health workforce that will reduce health disparities in urban, inner-city Albuquerque.
An illustration of the UNM HSC’s commitment to Urban Universities for HEALTH is its Vision 2020: Working with community partners, the UNM HSC will help New Mexico make more progress in health and health equity than any other state by 2020. Thus, the success of the HSC is measured by the communities it serves, and reducing health workforce disparities is a major component of our vision and strategic planning.
Given this institutional focus, Urban Universities for HEALTH will be supported at the highest levels of UNM HSC with a leadership team including the Chancellor of Health Sciences, the Vice Chancellors of Community Health, of Diversity and of Research, and the Deans of the School of Medicine, College of Nursing and College of Pharmacy. UNM HSC has made a strong investment in pipeline programs and admissions policies favoring students from underserved communities. Its educational approaches and diverse venues of learning are reflective of the institution’s commitment toward training a health workforce that reflects the ethnic diversity of the state in general and of urban inner-city populations in particular.
The UNM HSC has a strong track record of health workforce analysis that has been enhanced by the transfer of the New Mexico state’s health workforce data for all health professions to a new Center for Health Workforce Analysis. Data will also be included from our County Health Report Cards, from workforce surveys conducted by the Office of Diversity and from data submitted by the New Mexico State Office of Higher Education. The data will be housed in centralized data warehouse in the bioinformatics core of the UNM Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC).
A set of metrics related to reduction in urban health workforce disparity will be developed under the categories of Access, Educational Opportunity and Competence and measured annually against the UNM HSC’s programs in pipeline development, admissions policies, curriculum innovation, community-based learning, service-learning and service needs to assess programmatic effectiveness in reducing health workforce disparities.
The UNM HSC’s Urban Universities for HEALTH approach and metrics will be shared with other academic health centers nationally as we build the capacity to increase the quality of evidence, refine a set of metrics to monitor programs geared toward disparity reduction and link our efforts with other urban-serving institutions in a learning collaborative in order to reduce disparities in the health workforce and improve health in our communities.