Addressing the Health Needs of the Underserved: A National Faculty Development Program

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Abstract

The authors developed a three-week faculty development program, “Addressing the Health Needs of the Underserved” (funded by Title VII), and later incorporated a yearlong Fellowship in Underserved Medicine. This article describes these programs from 1999 to 2007, focusing on participants, curricula, outcomes, and potential impact.

Participants (n = 107) in the three-week faculty development program came from 29 states and Puerto Rico, with more than 25% from underrepresented minorities in the health professions. The program focused on three skill sets: creating and sustaining community programs and partnerships; core faculty development/academic skills; and personal and professional renewal. Outcomes measured with follow-up surveys and interviews in 2003 revealed that since their participation, the first 53 participants to complete the program had created 30 new or modified residency curricula, 19 new student curricula, and 7 new student-run free clinic projects. Pre-post measures from 2003 to 2007 identified an overall 46% increase in skill confidence, with the greatest increase reported for designing a promotora (community lay health promoter) program. Participants expressed particular satisfaction with becoming part of a national community of scholars in the field of underserved medicine.

For the yearlong, on-site Fellowship in Underserved Medicine, four of the first six fellows who completed the fellowship were former University of California–San Diego Student-Run Free Clinic Project student leaders who left San Diego to complete family medicine residency and returned to complete the fellowship. All six currently work with underserved communities as their primary focus, five in the United States and one internationally with Doctors Without Borders.

This article is part of a theme issue of Academic Medicine on the Title VII health professions training programs.

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