April Ally Spotlight with the Center for a Diverse Healthcare Workforce at UC Davis
Each month, the Social Mission Alliance highlights the important work done by our allies.
This month, we spoke to the Center for a Diverse Healthcare Workforce at the UC Davis School of Medicine. Their stated mission is to “promote best practices and advance diversity in the workforce by: leading research focused on recruiting, training, and retaining a diverse healthcare workforce to advance health equity; sharing research and engaging in meaningful conversations to increase diversity in the healthcare workforce; and creating partnerships and collective impact to advance educational opportunity, equity, and diversity within the healthcare workforce.”
The Center has three primary focus areas (research, communities of practice, and dissemination) which move them along the path from research to implementation. Their research focuses on admissions policies, community college pathways, and creating inclusive environments. The Center forms Communities of Practice to actively convene partners to create and implement diversity plans. Additionally, to increase awareness of healthcare workforce diversity, the Center has a Dissemination Team that shares information learned from their research and communities of practice.
Read below for our interview with the Center for a Diverse Healthcare Workforce to learn more about their work.
Why was the Center for a Diverse Healthcare Workforce formed? What was its inspiration?
The Center was established with a grant from HRSA to create, study, and promote best and promising practices in health professions workforce diversity. Over the past 20 years, UC Davis has been focused on improving care for our most under-resourced communities – and aiming for a diverse healthcare workforce is a key strategy in equitable healthcare. We are both discoverers and implementers at UC Davis School of Medicine – about 50% of the current first year class is from a community under-represented in medicine – and is a reflection of the work of the Center and the institutional commitment to improvement.
Why is your work important and how can it inform policy making?
We hope that our work informs (and, if needed, disrupts) policies aimed at improving access to education, including higher ed, and dismantling unequal barriers to careers in health and medicine. Some of our most important work highlights the critical role that community college graduates play in building the family medicine workforce, strategies to improve diversity in graduate medical education, steps to improve inclusion for learners with disabilities, and the hidden challenges faced by admissions offices in advancing diverse learners into medicine.
What are some encouraging (or discouraging) health workforce trends the Center has identified?
We are encouraged by the increasing commitment to workforce diversity that we are seeing nationally and across all health professions and the commitment to improving the learning environment for all learners. As we await the SCOTUS decision on race in admissions, we are considering how programs can support each other and how the Center can be a ready partner.
What are your goals for the coming year or so?
In the next year, we hope that the Center continues to act as the foundation for changes throughout our institution related to diversifying the healthcare workforce. We hope to strengthen our service to Native communities through our Tribal Health PRIME pathway and the Wy’east Post-Baccalaureate Pathway through the Northwest Native American Center of Excellence. We also wish to expand our community college to medicine pathway by establishing communities of practice with higher education institutions throughout Northern California. The Center for a Diverse Healthcare Workforce and its team remain committed to improving health equity by training future health professionals from the communities that need it most.
The Social Mission Alliance would like to thank Arra Jane Soriano, and the greater Center for a Diverse Healthcare Workforce at UC Davis School of Medicine, for taking the time to talk with us, and for their continued commitment to social mission.