Commissioned reports and numerous studies document both the dearth of professionals from racial and ethnic groups other than Non-Hispanic white in the health care workforce and in health professions training programs within universities and colleges in the United States. Data collected by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau's Division of MCH Workforce Development (DWFD) are consistent with the long-term trends delineated in these reports. These data continue to document the lack of racial and ethnic diversity among the students enrolled in MCH-funded training programs and the faculty who administer and teach within these programs.
MCHB's DWFD has a strong commitment and exciting portfolio of initiatives to address this "diversity gap" within its funded programs. The DWFD established performance measures and implements a number of ongoing efforts to increase the number of students and faculty from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in all facets of the public health/MCH workforce, and enhance the learning environment by ensuring cultural competence within all components of the training programs. In support of these efforts, the National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) has conducted a project to explore mentoring, an approach with proven efficacy to support racially and ethnically diverse students and faculty who are underrepresented within MCH training programs.
NCCC convened an Ad Hoc Expert Group from a broad range of disciplines and programs to provide input to the project.
The project has developed a number of resources to inform MCHB funded programs about using mentoring as an evidence-based strategy to increase the number of students and faculty from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in maternal and child health training programs.