179248 Boston Disparities Project: Programs to Diversify the Health Care Workforce

Monday, October 27, 2008: 1:30 PM

Meghan Turnier Patterson, MPH , Disparities Project, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Nancy Norman, MD, MPH , Medical Director, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Background: The Boston Disparities Project (Project) was developed by the Boston Public Health Commission and Mayor Thomas M. Menino to address the key social determinants that lead to worse health outcomes for Boston's residents of color. The Project has granted over $2 million to more than 100 community organizations to work towards achieving this goal. The Project is innovative in that it recognizes many elements, from environmental and social, to economic and academic, factor into health inequities.

Methods: One of the key determinants leading to health and health care disparities is the under representation of minority groups among health professionals. We recognize that in order to address differences in healthcare quality and health outcomes, we need a diverse healthcare workforce. Therefore, the Project supported two innovative programs, the “Students Taking Action for Nursing Diversity” (STAND) and the “Careers in Urban Nursing” (CAN) Programs that bridge Boston Public High School students of color with a health career path.

Results: In three years, 270 students of color were enrolled in a nursing program through the STAND and the CAN programs. The average completion rate for both programs was above 70% with 73% of those completing, entering a health care program at any college upon completion of the STAND and the CAN programs. After three years, these projects have concrete, positive results that can be replicated as well as key lessons learned related to institutionalization, coordination, attendance, mentoring, and sustainability within such programs.

Conclusions: We hope to share practical approaches to creating innovative programs to encourage underrepresented minority youth into the nursing profession and to illustrate how workforce diversity can be used as a strategy to eliminate health and health care disparities.

Learning Objectives:
1.Discuss how workforce diversity can be used as a strategy to eliminate health disparities. 2.Discuss three strategies used to create an innovative program to encourage underrepresented minority youth into the nursing profession.

Keywords: Public Health Nursing, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As medical director for the Boston Public Health Commmission, we provide technical assistance, grant and capacity building opportunities to agencies and organizations focused on diversifying the health care workforce and creating youth pipeline programs.
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.