Increasing African_Americans and Latinos in the Health Professions

Implementing a school-based intervention in Milwaukee to increase minority middle school students' interest in health careers

Full Project Name:A School-based Intervention to Increase African_Americans & Latinos in Health ProfessionsPrimary Community Organization:Milwaukee Public SchoolsPrimary Academic Partner:John Meurer, MD, MBA, Insitute for Health and EquityAward Amount:$46,363
Award Date
October2008
Project Duration:9 months

Project Description Narrative:


Increasing minority representation in medicine is an important way to improve access to care for minority populations. However, Latinos and African-Americans in the U.S., and in Milwaukee, are grossly underrepresented throughout the health care professions. Although efforts to augment the diversity of the health care workforce are urgently needed, not enough is known about the most effective interventions for increasing the numbers of Latino and African-American health professionals. Focus group studies of urban high school African-American students in Milwaukee suggest that these populations have little knowledge of the medical profession, few college and/or graduate school plans, and a desire for hands-on exposure to health professions at an early age, suggesting that educational interventions should be implemented in elementary and middle school rather than in high school, college, or graduate school.

Through this award, project partners aim to implement and evaluate a school-based intervention aimed at increasing African_American and Latino middle school students' interest in health professions.

Additional MCW Academic Partner:
Tarik Walker, Pediatrics; Laura Cassidy, Institute for Health and Equity

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:


• Engaged 39 health professionals to provide educational resources to African-American and Latino middle school students at 10 Milwaukee Public School locations

• Provided educational resources to African-American and Latino middle school students, teachers, and principals and also engaged principals, teachers, and health care professionals in discussions with students and interested families about health care professional careers, summer programs, pathways for higher education, and student loans

• Obtained significant pre- and post-test data, documenting a short-term increase in both knowledge and career interest and awareness levels across all groups within one academic year of participating in the school-based intervention

• Disseminated results at various national conferences and meetings, and provided school partners and academic medical centers to benefit from the relevant health data

• Documented future opportunities to continue to use project educational resources in classrooms and develop ongoing encounters or mentorships in order to have more significant impact on the pursuit and completion of health care professional careers by minority students

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