Minority populations including African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and certain segments of the nation’s Asian/Pacific Islander population, are not present in significant numbers in our public health workforce. While there are outstanding minorities in the public health career path, access to health professions remains unequal for minorities. An increased number of minority undergraduate students with awareness about and access to training in public health can effectively contribute to ensuring that the public health workforce is more representative of all populations that comprise communities, especially minority communities with limited access to culturally competent public health programs.
To increase access to advanced study and career opportunities in public health for minorities, Public Health Foundation (PHF) was awarded a cooperative agreement from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In years one and two of this cooperative agreement, PHF collaborated with one Historically Black College or University – Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) – to pilot an outreach program utilizing the unique web-based learning management network TRAIN. Students who participated in the outreach program were required to take on TRAIN either What is Public Health or Orientation to Public Health and answer evaluation questions (example: did this training change your perspective/attitude about entering public health?) to see if the online public health training encouraged minority undergraduates to pursue public health as a field of study and career.
Building upon the outcomes and recommendations of the piloted initiative in year two and the development of the standardized outreach process in year three, implementation at three other colleges/universities to engage additional minority populations were conducted in year four of this initiative: Florida International University’s (FIU), Morgan State University (MSU), and the University of Arizona (UA). Additionally, FAMU students who participated in the pilot initiative were tracked to further determine the impact of this strategic recruitment model. Tracking of FAMU students will continue to be conducted in year five of this initiative as well as the tracking of FIU, MSU, and UA students.
The activities under this objective were designed to help undergraduate students access, use, and benefit from public health training. From conducting research to completing online courses, the computer is a key tool for teaching and learning. TRAIN is an effective mechanism for introducing minority undergraduate students to potential careers in public health. Currently with over one million registered learners who participate in over 29,000 courses (online and on-site) provided by nearly 4,000 course providers, TRAIN offers introductory to advanced level trainings. Available 24/7, TRAIN is a convenient way for learners to search, register, and launch training at their convenience.
"Using Innovative Technology as a Tool to Recruit Minorities to Public Health Careers” was presented at the American Public Health Association (APHA) 138th Annual Meeting and Exposition in Denver, Colorado on November 9, 2010.
To learn more about the Minority Outreach Initiative, please contact the TRAIN team at firstname.lastname@example.org.