A Health Professions Pipeline for Underrepresented Students: Middle and High School Initiatives
The Department of Health Career Opportunity Programs at UConn Health has developed the Aetna Health Professions Partnership Initiative (Aetna HPPI), a formal education consortium offering a comprehensive program of educational enrichment and support activities for underrepresented and first-generation students. The purpose is to identify and develop a diverse applicant pool of students who will eventually enter a health professions career with a focus on medicine and dental medicine. Activities are conducted for students in middle school through college. The achievements of the middle and high school pipeline programs and their impact on producing a more diversified health professions workforce were examined. The students are recruited from the greater Hartford, CT area and come from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in healthcare, first-generation college families and modest family means. Program elements include a 30-week academic year Saturday Academy and a 6-week summer academic enrichment program aimed at preparing students for successful entrance into college, and a Parental Seminar Series for parents. Some of the activities include science, math, language arts, PSAT, SAT and ACT preparation, college tours, career counseling, mentoring by health professionals, and cultural experiences. Data analysis and tracking of the students in the academy have revealed some significant achievements. All seniors in the academy have graduated from high school. The SAT scores of the academy students have consistently stood above the average for the rest of the Hartford School District. In addition, the graduating seniors have a high rate of college matriculation.
KeywordsHealth disparities High school students Underrepresented Pipeline program Health careers
A special thanks to the faculty, staff, and students at UConn Health who participated in the activities.
Funding was generously provided by the Aetna Foundation; Connecticut College Awareness and Preparation Program, Office of Higher Education; Connecticut State Legislative Fund; John and Valerie Rowe Health Professions Scholars Program; The Hartford; University of Connecticut Foundation Friends of the Department of Health Career Opportunity Programs; UConn Health; and the William and Alice Mortensen Foundation.
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