Program Description & Goals
As our country and region become increasingly more diverse, we are also becoming more aware of the disparities in the health and the quality of the healthcare received by racial and ethnic minorities and the disadvantaged. There are many causes to these disparities, one of which is the failure of the health professions to keep pace with the changing demographics of our population. As reported over 10 years ago by the Sullivan Commission on Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce (Missing Persons: Minorities in the Health Professions), our healthcare workforce continues to have little resemblance to the diverse communities it serves. As a consequence, many feel excluded from healthcare systems that they perceive as distant and uncaring. This can negatively impact many of the dynamics that are necessary for patient and provider relationships that ensure the delivery of high quality, culturally competent care.
The formation of the UW’s Health Professions Academy (HPA) is in response to recommendations made in the Sullivan Commission’s report to increase the number of healthcare professionals from racial and ethnic groups that have been historically underrepresented in these fields, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. The goal of the HPA is to increase the number of exceptionally prepared disadvantaged and underrepresented minority UW undergraduate students who matriculate to medical school and dental school. The HPA does this by enrolling matriculated UW students selected for the program into a comprehensive professional development program that supports their academic, social and experiential needs as they are preparing for medical and dental school and the roles they will play as healthcare providers and decision-makers in the future.
The HPA is a collaborative program with stakeholders coming together from across the UW campus and local community. It is led by the UW’s School of Medicine, School of Dentistry and Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity.