Improving health care career pipeline programs for underrepresented students: Program design that makes a difference

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Background: Health care career pipeline training programs are one solution to increasing the number of minority and underrepresented health care providers. The Chicago Cancer Health Equity Collaborative (ChicagoCHEC) Research Fellows Program, a tri-institutional effort between the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU), and Northwestern University (NU), provides a holistic, 8-week summer research fellowship that facilitates self-reflection, professional development, and exposes and guides the novice undergraduate and postbac-calaureate student toward a health care career inclusive of research and scientific discovery. Objectives: The number of underrepresented students achieving health care careers is minimal. We outline curriculum development, innovation, lessons learned, and selected outcomes from the first three cohorts of the ChicagoCHEC Research Fellows program. Methods: A tri-institutional, collaborative curricular team was formed consisting of research faculty and staff at NEIU, UIC and NU. Once accepted, fellows experience a cohort model curriculum with particular emphasis to mindful inclusion of nontraditional students. The ChicagoCHEC Research Fellows Program uses evidence-based mentorship models, group reflection, and extensive program evaluation to continuously improve its program model. Conclusions: The 48 fellow alumni from the first 3 years reported high satisfaction with the program and will continued to be tracked for academic success. The ChicagoCHEC Research Fellows program will continue to provide academic and professional tools, sponsorship, and mentorship opportunities to underrepresented students as they progress toward health care careers. A program such as the ChicagoCHEC Fellows Program can serve as a useful model for increasing the number of minority researchers in health care careers.



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Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action

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