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In The Nation’s Compelling Interest: Ensuring Diversity in the Health-Care Workforce
tion of minorities in graduate medical education, increase the number of residents in primary care, and promote practice in underserved areas, among other goals. The program provides funds to hospitals and groups of training institutions.
Recommendation 3-3: State and local entities, working where appropriate with HPEIs, should increase support for diversity efforts through programs such as loan forgiveness, tuition reimbursement, loan repayment, GME, and supportive affiliations with community-based providers.
Recommendation 3-4: Private entities should be encouraged to collaborate through business partnerships and other entrepreneurial relationships with HPEIs to support the common goal of developing a more diverse health-care workforce.
Accreditation as a Key to Increase Diversity in Health Professions
Accreditation is the process by which nongovernmental organizations set standards for and monitor the quality of educational programs provided by member institutions. Accreditation is a voluntary process of institutional self-regulation, often conducted within the broad framework of standards established by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). By setting standards for educational programs and methods for institutional peer review, accrediting bodies advance academic quality, ensure accountability to the public, encourage institutional progress and improvement, and provide a mechanism for continual assessment of broad educational goals for higher education. As such, accreditation is an important vehicle for institutional change, and a potential means to enhance diversity in health professions.
The increasing diversity of the United States population requires that accreditation bodies be responsive to demographic changes and develop and enforce standards that ensure that health professionals are prepared to serve diverse segments of the population. As one accreditation official noted during a public workshop hosted by the study committee, “Our role is to serve the public.” Given that almost all accreditation bodies view public service and accountability as central to their mission, establishing and monitoring goals related to diversity among health-care professions can be unambiguously viewed as an important aspect of this effort.
Accreditation bodies may take varying approaches in efforts to accomplish these goals. The standards and practices adopted by the American Psychological Association (APA), however, are instructive and offer several approaches for accreditation standards to address diversity concerns (APA Committee on Accreditation, 2002):