UWM Dean Works on National Panel to Create Model for Minority Recruitment

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:35 pm

Dr. Randall Lambrecht, dean of the College of Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is working to create a national model for minority faculty development in medical schools. Lambrecht, representing the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions, spoke at the March summit of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in Washington, D.C., about the implications of increasing minority faculty levels for university instructors teaching allied health.
Allied health professionals work in a variety of medical fields, including clinical laboratories, physical therapy, occupational therapy, dietetic services, medical record personnel, radiologic services, speech-language pathology and audiology and respiratory therapy. It does not include physicians, nurses, dentists, or podiatrists.
After the summit in March, HRSA staff then asked Lambrecht to serve on a 14-member expert panel that is drafting the model for minority faculty development for all health professions.
The program is important for improving the quality of health care that is received by patients across the country, Lambrecht said. More minority faculty members are needed to help attract more minority students to pursue careers in health care, he said.
"There is an 8 to 13 percent vacancy in faculty ranks in allied health professions, not taking minorities into account at all," Lambrecht said.
The levels of minorities in the faculty for medical schools as a whole are "relatively low," according to Lambrecht, with many in the single digits, and some less than 5 percent.
"We would hope to get those numbers into the double digits, and eventually have them coincide with the population as a whole," Lambrecht said of the goals for the model.
"Whenever you don’t have a health care workforce that represents the population, you have the question of or even the reality that the quality of the care delivered is compromised. It’s hard to get the same level of care without people who understand and are a part of minority cultures."
Some minorities feel better about the care they are receiving when it is provided by someone of their own ethnicity, Lambrecht said. In turn, this would inspire more people of a wider variety of ethnicities to pursue careers in health care and possibly even to become faculty members in health care programs.
"We are attempting to create a universal model, which takes into account the community, recruitment and
retention levels," Lambrecht said. "We will ask, ‘How can we encourage
minorities into these programs and nurture them so they can not only get degrees, but also doctorates and faculty positions?’"
The panel has completed a third draft of the model and is currently revising it. They hope to have a fourth draft ready by October and to move ahead with the project in the ensuing months.
"UWM has had a desire and a strategy for hiring minorities for a long time," Lambrecht said. That desire, however, has been hampered by a lack of resources and the limited number of minorities qualified for the positions, he said.
August 5, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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