BOX 5-4
Institutional Partnerships to Increase URM Students’ Preparation and Interest in Health Professions Careers

In recent years, several institutions have developed partnerships to increase URM students’ exposure to, interest in, and preparation for heath professions careers. These can include partnerships between majority- and historically minorityserving institutions, as the following examples illustrate:

A Partnership Between St. Louis University and the Atlanta University Center

The four historically black colleges that constitute the Atlanta University Center (AUC), including Clark-Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College, and Spelman College, are collaborating with Saint Louis University (SLU) to promote interest among African American students in careers in research psychology. Undergraduate students from AUC colleges are selected to participate in the program, which provides mentoring and exposes students to psychological research. Students join a research team in the fall of their sophomore year and are asked to develop during the academic year a research proposal, complete with literature search and institutional review board approval. The following summer, these students attend an 8-week summer session at SLU, during which they live on campus and complete their research, while taking a course in research ethics. In addition, the students participate in a graduate admissions workshop, in which they will request and complete actual applications for graduate admission. The summer session concludes with a formal research conference at which students present their research findings. Students are provided with faculty follow-up and mentoring as they return to their home institutions.

This program, which is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, was honored with the 1999 Richard Suinn Award by the American Psychological Association for its innovative efforts to increase diversity in the field of psychology (APA, 2000).

The Fisk University-Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Joint BSN Program

Fisk University, a historically black college, and the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN) have entered into a unique agreement for a collaborative degree program that allows Fisk to award a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to its students by completing core liberal arts coursework at Fisk and BSN equivalent curriculum at VUSN. VUSN, which offers only master’s and doctoral nursing degree programs, will commit resources toward the Fisk BSN program, saving the latter institution the expense of creating an undergraduate nursing program from scratch, including developing specialized classrooms and skill labs and employing nursing faculty. After completing the Fisk BSN degree, students will have the foundation for graduate study in nursing and therefore may consider continuing their graduate education at VUSN. VUMC has agreed to provide support funding to the new program for Fisk BSN graduates, who agree to work at VUMC at full salary for a specific period of time. The graduates can then enroll in the MSN program at VUSN and take advantage of the VUMC tuition support benefit.

The program is being hailed as an innovative means of both increasing the numbers of URM nurses and addressing Tennessee’s nursing shortage, which is expected to exceed 9,000 nursing positions by the year 2020 (Hurst, 2003).

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