From the ground up: Creating and implementing a oral health workforce development program for urban adolescents
Research has shown that significant health inequities exist in the quality of healthcare available to people of color that extend to oral healthcare. A contributing factor to these inequities is the lack of highly-skilled healthcare professionals of color. Similar to other health-related fields, people of color are under-represented in oral health occupations. In order to address this deficit and increase minority recruitment and retention in the oral health field, targeted workforce development strategies must be utilized. Since educational and occupational aspirations and expectations are often formed early in life, such strategies must begin early in an individual's academic careers. Research has shown that success in the pursuit of health occupations is partly due to exposure to health careers that feeds interest, engagement and expectations of success in the chosen field. To that end, structured and targeted learning experiences designed to increase youth awareness, interest, and engagement in oral health careers can lead to better educational and occupational attainment. We will describe the development, implementation, and preliminary evaluation of an intentional after-school workforce development program designed to increase knowledge and interest in the health careers by adolescent youth of color. We will discuss the factors identified by the youth participants as obstacles to their success as oral health clinicians. We will also describe the strategies we utilized to provide youth with resources to overcome these challenges. Lastly, we will describe lessons learned from the process as well as next steps for the program.
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Describe the necessary components of a youth development program to increase youth knowledge of oral health.
Keyword(s): Oral Health, Adolescents
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the project manager for multiple federally funded grants aimed at increasing the knowledge and interest in health careers for diverse urban youth. I also direct a center devoted to increasing the access to health and oral health professions for youth of African descent, including youth of Haitian Creole descent. I have helped to oversee the implementation of the curriculum discussed in this presentation.
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.