strategies to reduce institutional- and policy-level barriers to URM participation in health professions training.
HPEIs can improve admissions policies and reduce barriers to URM admission by developing a clear statement of mission that recognizes the value of diversity in health professions education. Admissions policies should be based on a comprehensive review of each applicant, including an assessment of applicants’ attributes that best support the mission of the institution (e.g., background, experience, multilingual abilities). Admissions models should balance quantitative data (i.e., prior grades and standardized test scores) with these qualitative characteristics.
The federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is a major funder of health professions training that seeks to improve the quality and availability of diverse health professionals through an array of programs. These health professions programs should be evaluated to assess their effectiveness in increasing the numbers of URM students enrolling and graduating from HPEIs, and Congress should provide increased funding for programs shown to be effective in enhancing diversity. State and local entities should increase support for diversity efforts through programs such as loan forgiveness, tuition reimbursement, loan repayment, and other efforts. In addition, private entities should be encouraged to collaborate through business partnerships with HPEIs to support the goal of developing a more diverse health-care workforce.
The U.S. Department of Education should strongly encourage accreditation bodies to be more aggressive in formulating and enforcing standards that result in a critical mass of URMs throughout the health professions. In addition, health professions education accreditation bodies should develop explicit policies articulating the value and importance of diversity among health professionals, and monitor the progress of member institutions toward achieving these goals.
HPEIs should develop and regularly evaluate comprehensive strategies to improve the institutional climate for diversity. As part of this process, HPEIs should proactively and regularly engage and train students, house staff, and faculty regarding institutional diversity-related policies and expectations and the importance of diversity to the long-term institutional mission.
HPEI governing bodies should develop institutional objectives consistent with community benefit principles that support the goal of increasing health-care workforce diversity, including efforts to ease financial and nonfinancial obstacles to URM participation,