205196 Strategies for building a diverse public health pipeline: The Community Development and Social Justice Scholars Program

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 8:44 AM

Jennifer J. García, MPH , Department of Community Health Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Training a new workforce is essential to addressing the public health workforce shortage, however only 16 percent of schools in the Association of American Colleges and Universities have undergraduate programs in public health. Moreover, students of color remain underrepresented in graduate programs in public health and related disciplines. Consequently, the resulting workforce fails to represent the changing demographics and needs of the populations they serve. University administrators and educators are challenged to engage students of color in public health work and study, while adequately preparing them for graduate training in public health. I describe an undergraduate, practice-based, cohort program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) that can be implemented in schools without a formal undergraduate public health program. The Community Development and Social Justice Scholars (CDSJ) program prepares undergraduates for graduate study in professional degree programs. Unique aspects of CDSJ are its interdisciplinary approach, service-learning component, and mentoring component. The CDSJ program's strength lies in its social justice framework that emphasizes equity and social change as fundamental to public health and related disciplines. The program curriculum draws on critical pedagogy principles and encourages students to develop professional identities through cross-disciplinary dialogue, collaborative learning, and praxis. This framework engages students who are committed to addressing social inequalities and working in underserved communities. I discuss program outcomes including a 46% graduate school acceptance rate among CDSJ alumni. This innovative program can help to increase the number of students of color in the public health education pipeline.

Learning Objectives:
1) Identify strategies to recruit and retain students of color in public health. 2) Explain the importance of mentoring for undergraduate student success. 3) Demonstrate the power and usefulness of a social justice framework to studying public health.

Keywords: Social Justice, Public Health Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the coordinator of the Community Development and Social Justice Scholars Program.
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.