colleagues stress that these principles represent a comprehensive, “holistic” approach to institutional change and require that institutions possess strong leadership, adequate resources to support change efforts, strong planning and evaluation, and a long-term commitment to diversity goals.
Enhancing the racial and ethnic diversity of health professions education faculty can provide support for URM students in the form of role models and mentors, lead to important pedagogical changes, and “bring new kinds of scholarship to an institution, educate students on issues of growing importance to society, and offer links to communities not often connected to our campuses” (Smith, 2000, p. 51). HPEIs can take several steps to improve their efforts to recruit minority faculty. To begin, institutions should carefully examine their mission statement and assess how faculty diversity assists the institution to meet its goals. Identifying and recruiting qualified URM faculty candidates can be improved by utilizing active search processes that go beyond simply posting positions and recruiting though networks that are familiar to the faculty. Search committees should be diverse, to help in assessing and evaluating candidates of different backgrounds, and should have a close working relationship with the university administration to ensure the success of the search process. Finally, post-hiring support is critical for many URM faculty members to address the challenges of earning tenure, balancing teaching and research, and other faculty concerns (Smith, 2000).
Several HPEIs have implemented successful URM student recruitment and retention programs. Some elements of successful recruitment efforts include developing academic and educational partnerships with minority-serving institutions, addressing financial barriers, targeting outreach to URM students, and engaging pre-health advisors. As significantly, institutions should develop comprehensive strategies to retain URM students, by instituting a range of academic and social supports, including faculty and peer mentoring, tutoring and academic skills assessment, and teaching study skills. Institutions may increase opportunities for URM students to integrate themselves into the campus community (and take advantage of support programs) through both ethnic- and racial-group interest organizations, as well as general campus programs, such as orientation programs that clearly outline the institutions’ expectations regarding diversity-related policies and goals, and sensitivity training programs that increase aware-