. "Contribution C: The Role of Accreditation in Increasing Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Health Professions." In the Nation's Compelling Interest: Ensuring Diversity in the Health-Care Workforce. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2004.
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In The Nation’s Compelling Interest: Ensuring Diversity in the Health-Care Workforce
assess whether the teaching and experiences offered did in fact increase cultural competency.
9. Recommendation. That accrediting bodies devise new standards that address ways in which institutions/programs can better judge student readiness in areas of professionalism, communication, and interpersonal skills. Accrediting bodies should work closely with licensing agencies that test for core competencies in graduates of health professions programs in the process of change, such that as new core competencies are developed, these might be included in assessments for licensure. Testing that has consequences always serves as a powerful incentive, particularly when the reward centers on achieving licensure, certification, or recertification.
10. Recommendation. Once new standards have been established, accrediting bodies could offer national workshops or seminars to schools/ programs that would review the intent and meaning of the new standards. In addition, the accrediting bodies could create a website that lists key resources and best practices and offers opportunities to site visit programs that showcase best practices. To keep the public aware of efforts being made, the website could contain results of yearly research in education that offers the latest in assessment or development of new information on health and illness in various ethnic and minority groups.
Accreditation requires that institutions demonstrate through outcome measures that what schools teach is being successfully incorporated and practiced by their graduates. As accrediting bodies include cultural competency and other areas of competencies (e.g., professionalism, communication, interpersonal skills) in their established standards, institutions/programs will need to develop new tools to assess these more abstract qualities. The development of these new tools could best be accomplished through a collective effort across the health professions. A coalition of organizations such as the National Board of Medical Examiners, the Federation of State Medical Boards, and specialty certifying boards would aid significantly in achieving this goal.
THREE HEALTH PROFESSIONS’ ACCREDITING BODIES’ STANDARDS RELATING TO DIVERSITY
The standards of health professions’ accrediting organizations differ in regard to core competencies. However, most have developed a limited number of standards requiring that students achieve a degree of competence in matters of diversity and that programs establish diversity in admissions. A