August 15, 2006

Emerging Themes in the Assessment of Academic Health Center Diversity

• Each of the six schools has a different approach to diversity and inclusiveness.

• Two AHC schools have refined their mission statements to articulate their commitment to diversity. All other schools rely on a broad statement of diversity which is isolated from their mission statement.

AHC schools are in the first stages of developing diversity plans which will consider faculty and student recruitment and retention, curriculum development and academic climate. Schools are, however, at various stages in implementing diversity policies and programs. Recently resources have been allocated or expanded to support elevating a diversity plan.

• Admissions policies rely in large part on students’ proven academic abilities and use qualitative student information at the schools’ discretion.

• Experiential opportunities (clinical rotations, as well as, service learning) in diverse, underserved populations are required in all AHC schools.

• Each school offers a number of culturally related courses, many of these, however, are not required curriculum.

• A number of outside funding sources are available for student financial aid. Identifying them and educating students on how to pursue these funding opportunities will be key in reducing student debt loads.

• Faculty development to increase cultural awareness is available but not customized to health professions training. These are not required of faculty.

• Underrepresented minority faculty and student data is available but not reported the same within the schools. All schools are beginning processes to identify and collect data (in addition to demographics) needed to assess and improve their diversity.