Focusing on the Future of Health Care

By year 2050, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that over half of the people in the United States will belong to diverse communities. In states like California, Hawaii, Texas, and New Mexico, the population shift has already begun: large cities in those states are now “majority-minority” areas.

However, because of a variety and confluence of factors, students from underserved and underrepresented communities have limited access to educational opportunities, enrichment experiences, resources, and mentors in health and science careers.

Identifying and supporting outstanding diverse students with an interest in careers in health and science is an important first step toward narrowing the gaps. A critical part of OHSU’s charge as an academic medical center is to train culturally competent physicians, nurses, dentists and other healthcare professionals. Moreover, health care providers of color are more likely to work in underserved areas and to serve diverse communities.

How can you get involved?

The Center for Diversity & Inclusion(CDI) is helping to strengthen the “pipeline” of diverse health care professionals through focused and intentional outreach. We are accepting applications for summer research and clinical shadowing opportunities. Applications are due on Friday, February 7. Students selected for each program will receive a stipend for their work.

For college students: The Summer Equity Research Program offers a paid internship opportunity for undergraduate students to receive career mentoring and shadowing opportunities from OHSU faculty mentors from the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry and Graduate Studies. Students selected for the program receive a stipend for working with research faculty in a laboratory and/or clinical setting. The competitive application process draws students from colleges across the United States.

For high school students: The Ted R. Lilley Cancer Continuing Umbrella of Research Education (CURE) Project is supported by CDI and the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. The program targets high school students to provide hands-on research experience and science exposure to increase participation of historically underserved and disadvantaged students in biomedical research and health-related fields.

On Friday, February 21, OHSU will also host the annual Career Conference for high school and college students who want to pursue a career in health sciences. CDI brings more than 400 students from diverse backgrounds to hear student and faculty panels on fields of study and career paths in health care and research. The conference will offer tips on admission processes and other relevant information, as well as introduces students to OHSU educational programs, faculty, facilities and resources. Click here to learn more.



Maileen Hamto is Communications Manager for the Center for Diversity & Inclusion, which leads and supports university-wide initiatives to create a culture of respect and inclusion for all people.