MU Health System Partnership Promotes Diversity in Health Professions
COLUMBIA, Mo - High school students from eight different states will spend three days starting Monday, June 9, at the University of Missouri Health System's Cristo Rey Health Professions Summit.
The purpose of the summit is to immerse underrepresented minority students from urban areas in the health care field as a way to encourage their interest. This year, 40 students will participate in sessions offered by the MU School of Medicine, MU Sinclair School of Nursing, the MU School of Health Professions, the College of Human Environmental Sciences and the MU School of Veterinary Medicine to learn about careers in medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, ultrasound, pharmacy, communication disorders, nutrition and many more.
"We want students to have the experience of being a college student in the health professions at MU," said Kathleen Quinn, Ph.D., director of the MU School of Medicine's Area Health Education Center. "The hope is that we dispel myths and anxiety about being a college student on a large campus for these students, and encourage them to start thinking about careers in health care."
The MU Area Health Education Center is funded by a grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. The goal of the program is to improve the number and experience of health care providers, particularly primary-care providers, in underserved areas.
"With this partnership, our goal is to increase the numbers of underrepresented minorities in health careers to address health disparities," Quinn said. "Health outcomes improve for patients if their health provider shares their culture, background, ethnicity and race."
The Cristo Rey Network consists of 25 private, college preparatory, Catholic schools nationwide serving underrepresented urban youth. The network has an extremely high rate of students who go on to college, many with scholarships.
"In fact, 90 percent of Cristo Rey Network graduates from the classes of 2008 to 2012 went on to college," Quinn said. "Of those from the classes of 2008 to 2010, 90 percent have persisted into their sophomore year. This is twice the rate of their peers from the same socioeconomic backgrounds who were not involved in the program."
The MU School of Medicine is a national partner with the Cristo Rey Network and has been involved with the program for the past seven years.