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Increasing the Diversity of the Health Professions K-12 Networks of Support

2008 | Download

The Connecting the Dots Initiative: A Comprehensive Approach to Increase Health Professions Workforce Diversity in California

As the population in California continues to become a more linguistically and culturally diverse one, the need for health professionals who reflect that diversity is ever more pressing.

Minority health professionals are more likely to work in under-served communities, can facilitate better client-provider communication and are more likely to advocate for the interests of minority populations. Foundations, universities and government agencies have recognized the need for improving the diversity of the health professions for many years, investing in a range of efforts to address this issue.

Despite a number of privately and publicly funded ventures over the last two decades, there has been little progress made in the number of people from under-represented ethnic and cultural groups entering the health professions.

In a number of studies examining barriers to increasing health care diversity, researchers have identified social, economic and institutional factors which continue to limit the representation of minority students in colleges, universities and health professions schools. In order to increase the diversity of the applicant pool, researchers and stakeholders have argued, greater investment in the K-12 educational pipeline must be made.

The purpose of this study is to develop a model for communities to work across programs and sectors to create networks of support at the K-12 that increase the academic achievement and educational attainment of under-represented youth. The model was developed through a review of existing literature on partnerships, minority achievement and K-12 efforts to increasethe diversity of the health professions,aswellasinterviewswith experts in the field of health care workforce diversity and K-12 education. This model was used to examine the ways in which communities are working across sectors and phases of the pipeline to implement local and regional efforts.

Read the report.

Learn more: See From the Mouths of Leaders: Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities to Increase Health Professions Workforce Diversity in California

About The Connecting The Dots Iniatiative
This is one of seven reports that share findings from a coordinated set of inquiries commissioned by The California Endowment. The purpose is to foster a more comprehensive, evidenced-based understanding of the issues, challenges, and opportunities associated with efforts to increase health professions workforce diversity. Each report includes a set of targeted recommendations to increase health professions workforce diversity in California. The basic theme and title of the initiative is “Connecting the Dots,” reflecting an understanding of the need for a thoughtful, deliberate, and sustained commitment by the full spectrum of educational institutions, health professions employers, businesses, community stakeholders, and other leaders in the public and private sectors.

The Public Health Institute and UC Berkeley School of Public Health formed a partnership to conduct the research and take action as part of The Connecting the Dots Initiative, and worked in collaboration with UCSF Center for Health Professions, Gibson and Associates, and the Praxis Project.


Brightstar Ohlson, Kira Foster, Paul Gibson, Yolanda Jenkins, Ruth Linden, Kevin Barnett

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Advancing the State of the Art in Community Benefit