There are two related issues that have profound health consequences on the minority population in the United States. Minority members of some groups are sorely underrepresented in the ranks of the health professions. This is true not only of doctors and dentists, but for research scientists, nurses and those in all the allied health fields. Secondly, for some diseases the number of affected individuals in these same underrepresented groups is disproportionately higher. The net result is a failure of the health professions to meet the needs of all of the citizens.
Doctor Jordan Cohen,M.D., former president of the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), said:” Americans still get second-class health care because of their race and the physician workforce remains sadly lacking in the racial diversity needed to care for a multicultural nation.”
It is important to note that these two issues are linked. The doctor-patient relationship may be affected; imagine the relief of a patient to find the health professional understands the cultural significance of a suggested treatment. Consider how diversity in the profession can increase such awareness among all practitioners .
The inner drive and determination of the research scientist can be motivated by experience; imagine if your immediate family has several members affected by a life threatening disease. A team of energetic scientists could be motivated by intimate knowledge that Diabetes is more likely to strike among African-American women .
The lobbying power of the underrepresented could be increased to focus national attention on these concerns. What better place for that voice to find its platform than within the health professions
Doctor David Satcher,M.D. M.P.H., then Surgeon General, put it this way:” I do not believe that we can prepare physicians to take care of diverse communities without having a diverse population of medical students and a diverse faculty.”
History of 3000 By 2000 and The Health Professions Partnership Initiative(HPPI):
The following excerpts from a report given in September,2000 by Dr Cohen of the AAMC, explains how 3000By 2000(3X2) and HPPI came about:
”[In 1990] AAMC President Emeritus Robert Petersdorf and our colleague, the late Herbert Nickens, launched Project 3000 by 2000 with the ambitious goal of increasing the matriculation of underrepresented minority medical students to at least 3,000 per year by the dawn of the millennium. That dawn has come and gone, but that numerical goal is still a long way off.
Indeed, despite the hard work of medical schools across the country, no more than 1,700 individuals from racial/ ethnic groups underrepresented in the physician workforce will be among the some 16,100 new medical students receiving their symbolic “white coats” this month. At a time when underrepresented minorities make up more than 21 percent of our country’s increasingly diverse population, having barely 10.5 percent of our classes are drawn from these communities is – or should be – downright alarming.
Does that mean that Project 3000 by 2000 has been a failure? Absolutely not! True, we didn’t reach that magic number, but the Project’s true success is revealed by looking at the enduring structural changes it has wrought. By that measure, the Project’s accomplishments have been nothing short of spectacular and will surely pay rich dividends in the near future.
Remember that a cornerstone of Project 3 by 2 is the Health Professions Partnership Initiative (HPPI), an initiative designed for the long haul. The purpose of HPPI is to establish durable educational partnerships between academic medical centers, on the one hand, and colleges, secondary schools, and community groups, on the other hand. These partnerships are the linchpin in a long-term strategy to greatly enlarge the applicant pool of minority students ready and eager to pursue a career in medicine.”
In 1996, the AAMC and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation(RWJ) awarded 10 grant to begin the 3000 By 2000 program. The University of Connecticut Health Center, in partnership with Wesleyan University and other colleges and high schools, was one of the first recipients. Since then,. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation joined RWJ in funding a second and third round of grants to bring the total to 21 programs nationally. Other schools have begun programs without external funding
|The partners, Dr. Boake Plessy, PhD, Prof. Jim Donady, PhD, and Dr. Marja Hurley, MD (from left to right) dedicating the HPPI Learning Center at Wesleyan University.|
The University of Connecticut Health Center , including the Schools of Allied Health, Nursing, Pharmacy, Medicine, Dental Medicine and the Health Center Graduate Programs, has created a partnership between itself and three undergraduate institutions, Central Connecticut State University, University of Connecticut at Storrs and Wesleyan University as well as local school districts of Hartford and New Britain.
A pipeline of programs have been developed to address needs at several levels from 9th grade to the post-baccalaureate ( see Programs link). These include educational enrichment programs, clinical and research experiences and Medical/Dental Preparatory assistance. Students may enter the pipeline at any level and may choose among several alternative sequences of programs.
HPPI at Wesleyan University:
Wesleyan University conducts a Pre-frosh Program for students who will attend Wesleyan in the Fall. During the four academic years at Wesleyan, the 3X2 students receive additional advising and are eligible for any of the pipeline programs., which take place during the Summer. In addition, Wesleyan 3X2ers may enroll in a local Clinical program at Connecticut Valley Hospital. It has Summer and academic year components and can be taken for credit.