Building Bridges, Making Connections

Advancing diversity in medical education and research.

    • April 18, 2011

Minorities are a large and growing segment of the American population. In fact, by 2042, approximately half the American population will be of color. Yet as recently as 2008, only 12.3 percent of physicians in this country were African American, Latino or American Indian. Without a concerted effort to increase minority representation in medicine as educators, researchers as well as providers, the disparity between providers and consumers of care will worsen—with very negative consequences on Americans' health and health care.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has established and supports several initiatives to advance diversity in health and health care, building bridges and connections across programs and disciplines. The goal is to ensure that people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to bring the range of perspectives to the fields of health and health care that will reflect the diversity of the nation. The success of this effort will benefit all Americans.

Diversity in the health care workforce is a guiding principle of all Foundation programs. The following three programs specifically advance diversity in the Human Capital Portfolio.

The Summer Medical and Dental Education Program for college students is a structured, six-week experience that includes lectures, clinical rotations, mentorships, and discussions; applicants identify with underrepresented groups and come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, supported by the Foundation for over 25 years, is jumpstarting the careers of those from historically disadvantaged background starting out in academic medicine, through research support and fostering relationships with dedicated mentors.

New Connections: Increasing Diversity of RWJF Programming introduces early-to mid-career researchers and scholars who have been underrepresented in research disciplines to the Foundation and emphasizes their career development through networks, coalitions and mentoring.

To learn more about the scholar, fellow and leadership programs, visit www.