Native Americans into Medicine: A Program focused on Developing Representation and Diversity in Healthcare
The Center of American Indian and Minority Health (CAIMH), housed in the University of Minnesota Duluth Medical School, aims to reduce American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) health disparities by increasing the numbers of AIAN physicians, increasing awareness of AIAN healthcare, and conducting AIAN health related research. For the past 50 years CAIMH has held a summer enrichment program, Native Americans Into Medicine (NAM), with the goal of increasing the numbers of AIAN students successfully matriculating to and graduating from health professions programs. Until 2018, the program focused on improving math and science aptitude. In 2018, CAIMH significantly changed the NAM curriculum, focusing instead on research training, specifically Indigenous informed research conducted with and for AIAN communities. The curriculum and overall program changes were in response to persistent AIAN health disparities, minimal research available on AIAN health disparities, and low AIAN representation in nearly all health professions including medical research. By providing research training, CAIMH improves AIAN students' science and math (statistics) aptitude as before, but now also gives them skills that enhance their standing as applicants to health professions programs and that they can use in their future careers. The training also benefits AIAN communities by increasing the numbers of Tribal members aware of standards of research in Indigenous communities. The NAM curriculum highlights research best practices when working with AIAN communities.
Copyright (c) 2022 Mary Owen, Patricia Conway, Jessica Hanson, Catherine McCarty, Mangan Golden
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