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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Evaluation of the Pathways for Students into Health Professions: The Training of Under-Represented Minority Students to Pursue Maternal and Child Health Professions

  • Author(s): Guerrero, AD
  • Holmes, FJ
  • Inkelas, M
  • Perez, VH
  • Verdugo, B
  • Kuo, AA
  • et al.

The Pathways for Students into Health Professions program is one of four nationally funded programs by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the US Department of Health and Human Services to support the training of undergraduate students, particularly from under-represented minority groups to pursue maternal and child health professions. To assess the program’s impact on student ratings, knowledge, and interest in maternal and child health professions. A baseline survey on student ratings and knowledge in maternal and child health topics and careers, public health topics, and career development topics was provided to 32 students at the beginning of their first year in the program and approximately 1 year after participation. Half of the students (16 students) in the program from 2009–2011 were from traditionally underrepresented minority groups. After participation, students reported significantly higher ratings of interest in maternal and child health topics and careers and in receiving adequate academic and career guidance. Students also reported significantly higher knowledge of public health, childhood and maternal morbidity and mortality, health care disparities, and life course health development. The program’s didactic, experiential, and mentorship activities are changing student ratings and knowledge in a favorable direction toward maternal and child health careers and topics. Undergraduate training programs may be an important mechanism to strengthen the pipeline of a diverse healthcare workforce.

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