The Hospital Hill Diversity Council is raising money to start a new endowed scholarship for University of Missouri-Kansas City health professions students.
The mission of the Hospital Hill Diversity Council is to foster an academic health center community that celebrates diversity; value and respect differences; actively engage in issues of diversity; and develop competences needed to work with diverse populations.
The council includes representatives from Children’s Mercy, Saint Luke’s Health System and Truman Medical Centers along with each school on the UMKC Hospital Hill Campus: School of Dentistry, School of Medicine, School of Nursing and Health Studies and School of Pharmacy. Council members say the need for additional scholarship funds for historically underrepresented health professions students – African American, Hispanic and American Indian – keeps increasing.
The minority health workforce and incoming health profession students aren’t keeping up with the U.S. population. In 2011, minorities made up 37 percent of the population but:
- About 12 percent of incoming dental students are minorities, according to the American Dental Association.
- Black and Latino populations made up 15 percent of all U.S. medical school applicants in 2011, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
- Nursing students from minority backgrounds represented 26.8 percent of students in entry-level baccalaureate programs, 26.1 percent of master’s students and 23.3 percent of students in research-focused doctoral programs, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
- In pharmacy degree programs, 12.4 percent were underrepresented minority students, according to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.
Diversity in the student population isn’t just an effort to meet job demand. It could also be a factor in improving patient outcomes. UMKC was one of only five universities to receive the National Institutes of Health grant.
Money raised for the scholarships could be available as early as January and will be divided equally among the four schools. Representatives of the Hospital Hill Diversity Council are Gaby Flores, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Director, Office of Equity and Diversity; Michael L. Weaver, St. Luke’s Health System; Derek Williams, associate professor, and John Cottrell, clinical instructor and director of minority and special programs, both at the School of Dentistry; and Tracy Parker-Gray, manager of diversity and outreach initiatives at the School of Pharmacy, in addition to McGee and Wilson.