Our Priorities Care for Underserved Communities

Life expectancy can differ by as much as 20 years in neighborhoods only a few miles from one another. Differences in income, education, age, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, as well as access to quality health care determine these disparate outcomes. Too often, health professions students graduate without the knowledge and skills necessary to help close this gap and specifically may not have the skills to care for patients from different cultural backgrounds. The growing racial and ethnic diversity of America, along with the aging of America’s baby boomers, demands that we better prepare our health professionals to serve this changing population.

Learning to Care for Underserved Patients

We support projects that expand health professionals’ understanding and skills in delivering culturally and linguistically appropriate care and expose students and trainees to caring for patients from diverse backgrounds. We also support initiatives aimed at helping ensure more graduating and practicing health professionals choose to work in health care settings that serve vulnerable people, including those in rural and inner-city communities.

Building New Skills and Expertise

New curricula and training models are preparing healthcare professionals to meet the needs of all patients—regardless of age, race, language, income, education, religion, or sexual orientation—by:

  • Teaching courses in areas such as cultural competency, health disparities, and social determinants of health.
  • Practicing with culturally diverse standardized patients.
  • Learning and working in a variety of clinical settings, including nursing homes, community health centers, or clinics in prisons and schools. Working with language interpreters and connecting to social service providers, such as meals programs and homeless shelters, provide vital learning experiences.
  • Recruiting students from more diverse backgrounds. Evidence suggests that health outcomes are better when patients can identify culturally with their healthcare providers.

Overcoming Hurdles to Implementation

Health professions schools face a number of challenges in educating health professions students to care for the underserved and recruiting a diverse student body, including:

  • Expanding clinical partners and training sites.
  • Making space in students’ already heavy workloads to introduce additional requirements.
  • Building interest in the health professions among students from underserved groups, establishing programs and support systems to ensure their academic success, and addressing barriers such as high tuition rates.
  • Recognizing a lack of diversity among faculty members, which may be contributing to the lack of diversity among students in health professions schools.

Learn about promising models we’ve funded

Transforming Pediatric Residency Training to Improve Care for Underserved Children

In January 2010, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation awarded $500,311 to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to train pediatricians to care for the unique needs of underserved children and their families.

Contiune Reading

Internal-Medicine-Pediatrics Urban Leadership Training Program

The Johns Hopkins Internal-Medicine-Pediatrics Urban Leadership Training Program is a two-phase multi-institutional program that creates a novel residency combining internal medicine and pediatrics to prepare physicians to become leaders in urban primary care in Baltimore and in other cities across the nation.

Contiune Reading

From ACOs to Homeless Shelters: Health Professions Education in Arizona

With support from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, Arizona State University and the University of Arizona at Phoenix are implementing a graduate-level curriculum that will better prepare health professions students to provide primary care across urban and rural areas, serve an ethnically diverse population, and meet residents’ health care needs.

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Caring for An Aging America

Through a combination of classroom and clinical experiences, students in the schools of pharmacy, nursing and medicine at the University of Pittsburgh are brought together to learn how to care for an aging population.

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Ensuring Better Training for Physicians and Nurses

In 2009, a program to increase the number of doctors entering rural practice launched in New Roads, Louisiana A town where physicians are in short supply, it is ideal for exposing students to the rigors of practice in an underserved area.

Contiune Reading

News and Commentary

read

Leveraging Simulation and Telehealth Technology to Empower Family Caregivers of Children with Asthma

Macy Faculty Scholar Cynthia Foronda, PhD, RN, CNE, CHSE, ANEF on closing the critical gap in family caregiver education.

The Macy Awards for Excellence in Social Mission: Your Opportunity to Celebrate Your Colleagues

Claire Pomeroy and Leigh Anne Butler discuss the significance of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation’s Awards for Excellence in Social Mission in Health Professions Education and invite nominations for the awards.

Partnering with Patients in Education and Health Care Transformation

Vincent Dumez and Marie-Claude Vanier participated in the Macy Conference: Partnering with Patients, Families, and Communities to Link Interprofessional Practice and Education, which was held on April 3 - 6, 2014 in...

Teaching to Care for the Chronically Ill: The InterACT Program

In 2010 we challenged ourselves to create a longitudinal-integrated clerkship at an urban tertiary medical center. Incorporating several unique venues at the Icahn School of Medicine such as a student-run free clinic...

Publications

Read Special Report of the President

In a new special report Macy looks back at ten years of progress and accomplishments, and spotlights the people and ideas that will continue to bring about change in health professions education reform.

Read New and Developing Medical Schools: Motivating Factors, Major Challenges, Planning Strategies Part 3

Michael E. Whitcomb’s new report highlights the motivating factors, challenges, and planning strategies faced by the six newest US medical schools and offers important lessons learned as they begin to enroll classes...

Read Innovations in Graduate Medical Education: Aligning Residency Training with Changing Societal Needs

The report spotlights innovations and promising new approaches to the content and financing of GME from across the country. The report captures highlights from the Macy Regional Conferences on Innovations in GME, a...

Read Medical School Expansion in the 21st Century: Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

Michael Whitcomb and Douglas Wood document the motivating factors, major challenges, and planning strategies for the 11 new osteopathic medical schools that have opened since 2003.