The Power of Partnership:
Meeting Today’s MCH Challenges through Partnerships
MCH Training Program
Faculty/Trainee Diversity Workgroup
MCHB Representative: M. Ann Drum, DDS, MPH
Facilitators: Jean Athey, PhD; Kay Payne, PhD; and Carolyn Richardson, EdD
Mary Jane Rapport
Ann Drum welcomed the participants of the workgroup and stated her pleasure at seeing the interest in the topic of Faculty/Trainee Diversity. She stated her hope that the group’s discussions go beyond race and ethnic diversity, but also discuss gender and sexuality, as well as economic diversity. One fear is that too many programs are upper-middleclass people training upper-middleclass children.
Jean Athey briefed the participants on the goals of the workgroup. The group would address the second objective of the new national Maternal and Child Health strategic plan, generating ideas on how to implement this plan. The plan is of national scope and so far only lists the MCHB’s role in specific activities. The challenge is to have other entities look at the plan in the same manner, identifying their own activities.
The workgroup divided into two subgroups to address separate but related topics: faculty diversity and trainee diversity. The two groups were to identify challenges and recommendations.
Ms. Athey stressed that since the MCHB cannot implement the strategic plan alone, participants were to think globally and provide recommendations for other stakeholders as well. More resources are available in the logistics contract, and Ms. Athey stressed that if follow-up analysis or an ongoing workgroup is needed, there is funding.
Kaye Payne provided a summary of issues related to the topic. Dr. Payne noted that the topic is of particular interest to her as a minority faculty member teaching at a one of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Her overview was designed to stimulate thinking for the discussions.
Dr. Payne mentioned two books of particular interest, pertaining to these two topics. The first one, Faculty of Color in Academe by Carol Turner and Samuel Myers, presents an overview of the issues. The other is of a more personal nature, Impeccable Advice for Women in Academia by Emily Thoth. Dr. Payne pulled together the common themes from both of the books. Academic diversity has many facets involving academicians, the federal government, universities, faculty, and others.
Personal issues of minority faculty include isolation, lack of mentoring, occupational stress, token-hire misconceptions, and bias in recruitment, hiring, tenure, and promotion. The program or department where the faculty is hired is important, in terms of institutional support, financial resources, and perceptions of commitment. Exemplary programs include three components: fellowships, hiring practices, and mentoring and networking programs.
Group 1—Developing recommendations related to strategies for increasing faculty diversity and advancement (corresponds with National MCH Training Plan, obj. 2.1, activity 1). Chair—Kay Payne
Group 2—Developing innovative ways to recruit and retain trainees from culturally diverse backgrounds. Chair—Carolyn Richardson
Mary Jane Rapport
Strategies/recommendations to increase faculty diversity:
MCHB strategies to support faculty development:
1 MCHB should provide financial support for mentoring and faculty development;
2 Institutions should teach mentoring at the senior faculty level (this also includes institutional mentoring—grantees can provide technical assistance to other institutions, such as MSIs, groom them to become grantees);
3 MCHB should make a statement requiring sexual harassment training across grantees
4 MCHB could offset the costs of faculty with disabilities;
5 MCHB should support cultural competency and diversity training among faculty;
6 MCHB should sponsor a study of why underrepresented persons are not moving up into higher positions of faculty to identify which institutional changes are necessary;
7 MCHB should encourage using a self-assessment tool on cultural competency.
8 MCHB should serve as a clearinghouse for information on studies, tools that are available relating to diversity, mentoring, and cultural competency.
9 MCHB should create a workgroup composed of grantees and staff at MCHB for how to implement these steps. A task would be to track down resources/identify exemplars on this issue.
Strategies/recommendations to increase trainee diversity:
1 To create a better environment for underrepresented students, programs should look outside of the program, even the institution, for potential sources of mentors. Also there need to be mentors within the power structure to leverage resources for the students. Both of these are important.
2 MCHB and grantees should develop partners. We need to look at who we can join hands with, perhaps other MCH programs or other MCH training grantees. Partners need to be found at the national/regional/local levels. MCHB can be useful in developing partnerships on the national level:
· Other Federal Entities (HRSA, FDA, SAMHSA, NIH, CDC, NSF, DoED, EPA)
· University Administrators
· State and Local Administrators (Health, Child Medical, Human Services, HIS, BIA)
· Minority-Serving Institutions
· MCHB Grantees
· Training Programs
· Other Private/Public Entities (Pharmaceutical Companies, Foundations)
· High Schools
· Community Leaders
· Disease Organizations
· Professional Associations
3 Grantees need a way to share strategies. It would be helpful to have a clearinghouse of what has been tried already.
4 Research is needed on current retention numbers of underrepresented individuals in undergraduate and graduate programs.
5 Universities should give credit for mentoring in terms of tenure/promotion discussion.
6 MCHB should institute a broader recognition of diversity to include income status and sexual orientation.
7 NIH and other agencies could give out undergraduate awards targeting diverse trainees. Diversity supplements are utilized in other programs, and this model could be adopted by the MCHB. If there were financial support for mentoring time would be good, from the MCHB, and also from the institutions—this would be a way for them to demonstrate commitment.
8 MCHB could sponsor workshops on how to be effective mentors.
Ann Drum indicated that it’s helpful when there are so many ideas if experts in the trenches can prioritize those ideas. A small workgroup could analyze the list of recommendations, assign priorities to the recommendations, and help with the most important tasks.
Suggestions for highest priorities:
Establish an ongoing workgroup (perhaps this should include people with institutional authority for change). Ideally the workgroup would comprise:
· Some representatives from the current workgroup;
· MCHB staff who can negotiate in the agency and understand the legislative restrictions/leeway;
· Faculty from the target groups, bringing in people who aren’t currently in the loop (from MSIs, etc.).
The workgroup would implement some recommendations itself (e.g., establishment of a strategy clearinghouse) and also plan longer-term implementation of others (e.g., planning a conference to provide mentoring training). MCHB should send back the proceedings of the meeting, then ask for volunteers from this group for the workgroup, and recommend others who are appropriate and want to serve.
Each member of the current workgroup should via email rate the priority and feasibility of ideas in the meeting proceedings. The workgroup may then use the aggregated data to set priorities.