U of M School of Public Health Moving Toward a More Diverse Public Health Workforce



If I could go back in time, I would have wanted a program like this to be in place.  The University of Michigan School of Public Health (UM SPH) continues to show its commitment to  diversity as it implements a program to help increase diversity in the public health workforce, as well as increase the presence of minority students in higher education .  As an MPH student, I have been exposed to decades of research that continue to show the vast health disparities and health inequities affecting various racial and ethnic minority communities. In classes, we have dialogues and discuss  gaps in health services,  unjust policies, and the many cultural barriers that can come up for public health professionals when serving these communities. There is a great need to provide opportunities for minority students to explore the field of public health and to strengthen efforts to increase minority presence at the graduate level in our nation’s public health schools.

An 10 week summer residential program that exposes undergraduates and recent graduates to public health will be taking place at UM SPH this upcoming summer 2012.  Along with Columbia University , Morehouse College, Kennedy Krieger Institute, UM SPH received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)   in an effort to recruit minority students,  promote health equity, and address health disparities. The Future Public Health Leaders Program (FPHLP) will be recruiting a total of 50 students in the areas of Environmental Health and Health Behavior and Health Education. UM SPH will be following the same model as the Summer Enrichment Program (SEP)  that specifically recruits students in Health Management and Policy.

Participants will receive:

  • $3500 stipend and on campus housing
  • 8 Week internships in a public health setting
  • Transportation costs to and from internship site
  • Weekly visits to various public health agencies
  • Group learning at UM SPH
  • 1 week Group learning at CDC in Atlanta, GA
  • Kaplan GRE preparatory course
  • Round trip transportation from your home to Ann Arbor, MI and transportation to and from Atlanta, GA

For eligibility and deadlines, visit http://sitemaker.umich.edu/um-fphlp/home

What SPH students are saying about FPHLP:
Ezinne Nwankwo, 1st year HBHE

Ezinne Nwankwo, 1st year HBHE

“Having a diverse public health workforce is crucial to the advancement of public health efforts locally and nationally.  In fact, as public health challenges continue to grow, the need to have a diverse public health workforce becomes essential. The ability to be inclusive can allow for varied approaches to developing effective public health programs and attaining enduring results. The representation of ethnic/racial minorities in student bodies must continuously represent the diverse population in which public health efforts strive to influence.”

Jerin Phillip, 1st year HMP

Jerin Phillip, 1st year HMP

“One of the major goals of public health work is to eliminate disparities that we find in our current system, especially those along racial and socioeconomic barriers.  As much as we talk about encouraging sensitivity to the needs and perspectives of certain communities, nothing can quite match the level of understanding that comes from growing up and identifying with a community that is on the bottom end of any particular health disparity.  As it so happens in the US, the people with the worst health outcomes, who live under the worst environmental health conditions and receive the worst care, are disproportionately in communities of color.  Encouraging a more diverse public health workforce will help better address health disparities by bringing into the fold people who best understand the cultural context that surround the communities that need the most help.

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