175031 Role of public health education in diversifying the health professions—20-year results from a high school biomedical pipeline program

Monday, October 27, 2008: 8:30 AM

Marilyn A. Winkleby, MPH, PhD , Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Judith Ned, MA, MEd , Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Nell Curran, BA , Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
An essential component of public health education is the support of initiatives that reach low-income and ethnic minority students early in the educational pipeline to enhance their academic success and thereby promote a more diverse health professional workforce. This presentation describes results from a 20-year biomedical program that reaches out to low-income and ethnic minority high school students who have faced personal hardships and are often overlooked by outreach programs. The success of the program has contributed to university efforts to integrate diversity and educational efforts into its core mission and institutional functioning. Since 1988, 452 students have participated the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program; 97% have been followed for up to 20 years. The 5-week curriculum focuses on research experiences on current public health issues, experiential learning, pubic health and hospital internships, college admissions preparation, and long-term college and career guidance. Results show that 75% of African-American, 80% of Latino, and 70% of Native American participants have earned a 4-year college degree (among those admitted to college, and excluding those currently attending college). In contrast, 4-year college graduation rates for 25- to 34-year-old California adults are 16% for African-Americans, 8% for Latinos, and 10% for Native Americans. Among the program's college graduates, 48% are attending or have graduated from medical/graduate school, and 46% are working as or training to become health professionals. This program offers a replicable model—one that addresses majority/minority disparities in higher education and the critical need for a diverse health professional workforce.

Learning Objectives:
1. List several critical needs for a diverse workforce in health professions; one that includes African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans who remain highly underrepresented among those who earn college and more advanced degrees. 2. Describe educational disparities among underrepresented minority students, especially in key “gateway” courses to college and the professional workforce. 3. List 3 reasons why, despite over 30 years of programs and initiatives developed to enhance the interest and academic success of underrepresented minorities in higher education and health professions, there has not been a significant increase the numbers of such students in the educational pipeline. 4. Identify components of a high school biomedical pipeline program that serves as a replicable model to increase the pool of ethnically diverse students who succeed in college, the sciences, and eventually in health professions.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the faculty director of the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program, and I founded the program 20 years ago.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.