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Alliance Tackles Health Inequities And Professional Shortages

 More than a dozen academic institutions and other partners are banding together to meet Maryland's growing need for health professionals in medically under-served urban and rural communities, and provide a working model for other states committed to expanding and diversifying their health workforce.

As a member of the new Maryland Alliance to Transform the Health Professions, the University of Maryland School of Public Health will contribute its expertise in prevention research and community outreach. The parties met this week in Baltimore to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU).

Spear-headed by the Sullivan Alliance and its chair, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan, the new effort brings together the state's health professional schools, historically black universities and the state's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. (See list of participating organizations below).

The Maryland Alliance to Transform the Health Professions will focus on expanding the pipeline of "diverse, fully-prepared and qualified candidates for the health professions," and increasing educational and training opportunities for them, the MOU says. "Creating a future health care workforce that is increasingly proficient in cross-racial and cross-cultural interactions," is intended to reduce Maryland's disparities in health status and care, it explains.

"We are committed to preparing a diverse group of public health professionals to address the state's major health needs," says Robert Gold, dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Health, who signed the MOU. "We've made community outreach and prevention research a major initiative at the School, and we'll bring that experience to this project."

Over the past 25 years, America's growing and increasingly diverse population has surpassed its number of trained health personnel. In 2006, the Association of American Medical Colleges recommended a thirty percent expansion in the number of physicians trained, in order to avert a doctor shortage. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has projected the shortage of nurses could reach one million by 2020.

MARYLAND ALLIANCE PARTICIPANTS:

The Sullivan Alliance to Transform America's Health Professions; Bowie State University; Coppin State University; The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; Morgan State University; University of Maryland College Park School of Public Health; University of Maryland Eastern Shore; University of Maryland Baltimore; University of Maryland Dental School; University of Maryland School of Medicine; University of Maryland School of Nursing; University of Maryland School of Pharmacy; Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

The University of Maryland School of Public Health will "advance a state of health" by providing focused training to eliminate health disparities and build cultural competence and health literacy.

As the Mid-Atlantic region's only public research school of public health, Maryland is focusing intensively on addressing health disparities and community outreach. For example, the School's Prevention Research Center is partnering with the City of Seat Pleasant, which has some of Maryland's worst health outcomes. Other School initiatives include the innovative Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy and the new Center for Global Health Initiatives, funded by NFL player and Maryland alum, Madieu Williams.


Source: University of Maryland, College Park



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