Category Archives: Diversity

Oct 9 2012
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Meet the RWJF Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico

This is part of a series introducing programs in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Human Capital Portfolio. The RWJF Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico is working to increase the diversity of those with formal training in the fields of economics, political science and sociology who engage in health services and health policy research, and to become a nationally recognized locus for health policy research that will support work to inform health policy debates at multiple levels.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico is poised to have a far-reaching impact on the nation. The Center is the only institution dedicated to increasing the number of leaders from Latino and American Indian communities who will help shape the future of our nation’s health and health care.

At the heart of this work is the academic and professional development of its doctoral and post-doctoral fellows, a diverse group who are on their way to careers in health policy, academia, philanthropy, and health care financing and delivery systems. 

The Center is dedicated to preparing these future leaders through on-the-job research, policy analysis training, leadership development, and community capacity building. Through interdisciplinary research with health care professionals, and by partnering with other researchers and professional organizations, fellows pursue resolutions for complex policy issues affecting our nation’s health, especially in Latino and American Indian communities.

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Oct 2 2012
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Motivating the Next Generation of Minority Physicians

Alden M. Landry, MD, MPH and Kameron Leigh Matthews, MD, JD are  co-directors of Tour for Diversity in Medicine, a grassroots effort to educate, inspire, and cultivate future minority physicians. Landry, 31, is an emergency medicine physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and Matthews, 33, and is the medical director for a Chicago-based family health clinic. Landry is an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP), formerly the Minority Medical Education Program.

Alden Landry reflects on the second Tour for Diversity which ended last week:

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Dr Matthews and I created the Tour for Diversity in Medicine (T4D) to reach out to students in their comfort zones and show them that they could be successful and become health care providers. We enlisted the help of our friends and colleagues to come along with us on the tour as Mentors, to lead lectures, workshops and interactive sessions and motivate the next generation of minority physicians. The Mentors range from pre-health advisors to medical and dental students as well as physicians and dentists in practice. More importantly, they share their personal stories with students. We’ve found this to be one of the most valuable parts of the tour—giving a human face to what can sometimes seem like an unattainable profession.

The tour was different than our earlier, February tour because we had a broader mix of host institutions. Host institutions ranged from small historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to larger institutions. We visited schools in rural settings as well as large cities. Each institution was as unique as were the students who attended and the stories we heard.

There wasn't just one stop that was memorable. All of the stops were filled with amazing groups of students hungry for more knowledge about careers in medicine and dentistry.

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Sep 11 2012
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Project L/EARN: Graduates Reflect

Project L/EARN is an intensive, 10-week summer internship for undergraduate college students who are from socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in graduate education. The program, funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provides students with training, experience and mentoring to make them stronger candidates for admission to graduate programs. Interns attend lecture sessions, complete Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) preparation, and work with mentors to write a research paper, which they present as a poster. This year’s program was held at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research at Rutgers University. This is part of a series of posts where scholars who completed the program discuss the experience. Learn more about Project L/EARN.

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Alison Hernandez
Hometown: North Bergen, NJ
Rising senior at Rutgers University
Major: Pharmacy
Internship Research Project: The Influence of Patient Health Perceptions on Engagement in End-of-Life Discussions

Human Capital Blog: How does your Project L/EARN experience relate to or support your educational and professional goals?

Alison Hernandez: Before Project L/EARN I did not have appreciation for research the way I do today. As a prospective clinician, I think it’s important that clinicians know about research and improving health outcomes through programs and initiatives. And if clinicians don’t know about this research that’s going on, nothing’s going to change. So it’s important that I take these lessons I’ve learned at Project L/Earn and bring it to my fellow classmates.

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Sep 5 2012
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Project L/EARN: Graduates Reflect

Project L/EARN is an intensive, 10-week summer internship for undergraduate college students who are from socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in graduate education. The program, funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provides students with training, experience and mentoring to make them stronger candidates for admission to graduate programs. Interns attend lecture sessions, complete Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) preparation, and work with mentors to write a research paper, which they present as a poster. This year’s program was held at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research at Rutgers University. This is part of a series of posts where scholars who completed the program discuss the experience. Learn more about Project L/EARN.

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Stephanie Jimenez
Hometown: Jersey City, NJ
Rising junior at Rutgers University
Major: Sociology
Internship Research Project: Breast Cancer Survivors’ Perceptions of Quality Cancer-Related Care from Primary Care Providers

Human Capital Blog: What aspect of the Project L/EARN internship has been most helpful and why?

Stephanie Jimenez: The most helpful part of my Project L/EARN experience this summer was the guidance that I received from my mentor as well as the things I learned from my instructional staff. The feedback I gained from my presentation helped me gain perspective.

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Aug 27 2012
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Project L/EARN: Graduates Reflect

Project L/EARN is an intensive, 10-week summer internship for undergraduate college students who are from socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in graduate education. The program, funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provides students with training, experience and mentoring to make them stronger candidates for admission to graduate programs. Interns attend lecture sessions, complete Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) preparation, and work with mentors to write a research paper, which they present as a poster. This year’s program was held at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research at Rutgers University. This is part of a series of posts where scholars who completed the program discuss the experience. Learn more about Project L/EARN.

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Brandon McDonald
Hometown: Rochester, NY
Rising Senior at the University of Rochester
Major: Public Health
Internship Research Project: Marital Status as a Predictor of Dental Health Service Utilization

Human Capital Blog: What did you expect before you arrived? How different is the reality?

Brandon McDonald: When I first arrived at Project L/EARN, I expected there’d be a sense of difficulty as well as more independent-based projects. In actuality, I realized that there’s a broader sense of structure and a bigger support system than I would have ever expected. There are different segments when the papers are due so you have [more] connections with your mentor than what I would have thought as well.

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Aug 21 2012
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Project L/EARN: Graduates Reflect

Project L/EARN is an intensive, 10-week summer internship for undergraduate college students who are from socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in graduate education. The program, funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provides students with training, experience and mentoring to make them stronger candidates for admission to graduate programs. Interns attend lecture sessions, complete Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) preparation, and work with mentors to write a research paper, which they present as a poster. This year’s program was held at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research at Rutgers University. This is part of a series of posts where scholars who completed the program discuss the experience. Learn more about Project L/EARN.

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Thomasina Anane
Hometown: Silver Spring, MD
Rising junior at Johns Hopkins University
Major: Public Health / Sociology
Internship Research Project: Goal-Striving Stress & Mental Health: Race and SES Variations

Human Capital Blog: Are there any insights about your Project L/EARN experience you’d like to share?

Thomasina Anane: Project L/EARN taught me two things. One: stop procrastinating and learn better time management skills and two: Project L/EARN is a lot like a 9 to 5. You can equate it to a work day. Having to wake up on time every day to be here has taught me the importance of how you present yourself as a professional who’s confident in what she’s doing. Just knowing what you’re doing and how people perceive you and your work. It’s added a sense of rigor to what I do. I’m definitely taking what I’m doing seriously. Project L/EARN has taught me the importance of what all this education means. In the future, being able to use what we learned and be confident and becoming the career person you want to be now. And I appreciate Project L/EARN for that.

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Aug 15 2012
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AAMN Supports RWJF's Mission to Diversify the Nursing Profession

By Brent MacWilliams, PhD, ANP, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Member of the Board of Directors, American Assembly for Men in Nursing

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) values diversity and inclusion, which includes historically underrepresented populations like men. The population of the United States is becoming more diverse, and the best way to increase cultural competence in the health care system is to increase the diversity of health care providers.

Medicine, pharmacy and other allied professions have increased gender diversity to near equitable levels. Nearly half—or 48 percent—of 2010 medical school graduates were women, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Yet men account for less than 10 percent of the nursing profession. 

It is time for nursing to recalibrate to meet the needs of a 21st century health care workforce through sustainable metrics. RWJF and the American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) share a vision for measurable change to take place in the nursing workforce through cultural change, greater diversity in health care leadership and evidence-based change.

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Aug 14 2012
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Project L/EARN: Graduates Reflect

Project L/EARN is an intensive, 10-week summer internship for undergraduate college students who are from socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in graduate education. The program, funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provides students with training, experience and mentoring to make them stronger candidates for admission to graduate programs. Interns attend lecture sessions, complete Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) preparation, and work with mentors to write a research paper, which they present as a poster. This year’s program was held at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research at Rutgers University.This is the first in a series of posts where scholars who completed the program discuss the experience. Learn more about Project L/EARN.

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Symonne Kennedy
Hometown: Teaneck, NJ
Rising senior at Rutgers University
Major: Psychology
Internship Research Project: The Association between Prenatal Substance Exposure and Adolescent Emotional Competence

Human Capital Blog: What’s the most surprising thing you learned during internship?

Symonne Kennedy: The most surprising thing I’ve learned in Project L/EARN is the sheer extent of the amount of work that goes into a research project and the amount of statistics it takes to do it. I’ve taken advanced research statistics, so I thought I was “big man on campus.” But no, there’s so much more to learn, and I haven’t even touched the tip of the iceberg.

HCB: Are there any insights about your Project L/EARN experience you’d like to share?

Kennedy: The program is really tough, it is a grueling program. They said that beforehand – it’s going to be difficult, it’s an intensive 10-week research program, and that’s exactly what it is. They said you’re not going to believe us, but when you start going through you start to feel it. For future Project L/EARN students it’s important to know that it is a lot of work but it’s very doable. The program is good preparation for what grad school’s really going to be like. It’s tough but you just have to put your mind to it. It’s very accessible, you can do it.

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Aug 9 2012
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Women Underrepresented as Health Care CEOs

While they make up 73 percent of medical and health services managers, women account for only a small portion of CEOs at hospital and health care organizations, according to a report by RockHealth. The analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and other surveys finds that just 4 percent of health care organization CEOs and 18 percent of hospital CEOs are women.

RockHealth’s report highlights a range of barriers to women’s advancement, including persistent gender roles in the workplace, a lack of mentors and role models for women, and more. To understand what women in the health care workforce thought, RockHealth conducted interviews with 100 women in the field. Nearly half the survey respondents reported that insufficient self-confidence was one of the biggest barriers to their career advancement. Among other reported obstacles: time constraints (45 percent) and the ability to connect with senior leadership (43 percent).

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has long championed leadership development, for women and men alike. Many of the Foundation’s programs offer leadership training for nurses, physicians and other health care professionals, to help advance their careers. Learn more about RWJF programs at RWJFLeaders.org.

What do you think? Are females underrepresented in health care leadership? What can we do to increase their representation? Register below to leave a comment.

See the RockHealth Women in Health Care report.
Read coverage of the report from Fierce Healthcare and Forbes.

Aug 8 2012
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Revolutionary Gerontology: The Intergenerational Questions

Cleopatra M. Abdou, PhD, is an assistant professor of gerontology at the University of Southern California, and an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health & Society Scholars program. This post is part of a series on the RWJF Health & Society Scholars program, running in conjunction with the program’s tenth anniversary.  The RWJF Health & Society Scholars program is designed to build the nation’s capacity for research, leadership and policy change to address the multiple determinants of population health.

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Gerontology, the study of aging, is a diverse field that integrates the biological, social-behavioral, and health sciences, as well as public policy. This means that gerontological research addresses a vast range of questions. One type of question asked by gerontologists, including myself, has to do with intergenerational processes. My own research investigates the intergenerational transmission of culture, social identities, conceptions of stress and success, and, ultimately, health. For example, how do our notions of, and relationships to, family affect our health at critical points in the lifespan? More specifically, how do familial roles and responsibilities, such as marrying, reproducing, and caring for grandchildren, correlate with life satisfaction and longevity?

My four siblings and I are the first American-born generation in our family. Our parents came to the United States from Egypt in 1969, and I am strongly identified as both an American and an Egyptian. Anyone who has complex or competing identities knows that it’s a mixed bag—a blessing and a curse. Recently, as I boarded a plane in Cairo to return to the United States, I found myself sobbing with what I think was a kind of homesickness. As happy as I was to return to my immediate family and orderly life in The States, I mourned leaving the land of my parents and all of our parents before them, especially during this important time in Egypt’s history.

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