177057 Increasing graduate public health education by underrepresented groups: Evidence from California

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 1:00 PM

Robert L. Seidman, PhD , Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Jeff Oxendine, MPH, MBA , School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Rachel Flores, BA , School of Public Health, Dept. of Community Health Sciences, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Kimberley Shoaf, DrPH , Center for Public Health and Disasters, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Jesse C. Bliss, MPH , School of Public Health Department of Environmental and Occupational Health/ Office of Public Health Practice, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
A large number of new public health professionals will be needed in the near future as a significant percentage of the existing workforce nears retirement. Despite an increase in the number of schools and programs offering public health degrees, the number of students currently pursuing graduate education in public health remains insufficient to address this looming workforce shortage. The racial and ethnic composition of the current workforce also may not be similar to the population it serves, suggesting the need to encourage more ethnic minorities and students from underrepresented groups to select careers in public health.

This presentation describes outcomes from three full-day outreach workshops provided by the Pacific Public Health Training Center (PPHTC). These workshops specifically targeted undergraduate students from underrepresented groups who may be interested in public health careers. Participants were recruited by sending email and brochures to student organizations at universities throughout California. Workshops were offered on different dates at UCLA, UC Berkeley, and Fresno State University in order to attract students from different geographic areas throughout California. Following an initial keynote presentation, panels composed of public health practitioners, faculty, current students, and alumni addressed issues that covered how to submit a successful application, exciting public health issues and contributions to community health, and reasons why public health would be an exciting career choice. Results from an evaluation of the program are presented, and lessons learned to design more successful outreach efforts in the future are discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1. List at least three key factors related to successfully implementing outreach to undergraduate students to stimulate interest in graduate public health education. 2. Describe the recruitment process and workshop design used by the PPHTC project. 3. Identify specific components of these outreach activities that were found to be successful or unsuccessful.

Keywords: Education, Workforce

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I participated on the project team that designed and conducted the study.
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.