Encouraging Underrepresented Groups to Pursue Health Sciences

My group was assigned the Texas Women’s Histories archive. In that archive are a variety of different interviews from women at the Texas Medical Center who are or have been nurses, doctors, or scientists of some sort. For our particular project, my group chose to focus on two particular women, with the goal of highlighting the need for diversity in medicine. The interviewees we chose were Dr. Lu Ann Aday, a Ph. D. who focuses on sociology and public health, and Dr. Ritsu Komaki, a radiation oncologist working at MD Anderson who originates from Japan. With the interviews of these two extraordinary women, we hope to illuminate how their gender and different ethnic, cultural, and social backgrounds have contributed to their view of medicine and public health, and how this difference could be applied elsewhere.

For our project, we plan to have a website with an embedded video that utilizes the Aday and Komaki interviews as a base.The purpose of the project, and the website in general, is to showcase how women and minorities can impact medicine. Ultimately, these interviews exist because of differences in gender, and so we would like to continue that thread and explore that aspect of the interviews. Additionally, we would like to build on the idea that diversity is something to be valued, and that it can beneficially impact medicine. The end goal of the project would be to explore how Lu Ann Aday and Ritsu Komaki’s gender and distinct culture impact their experience in the public health realm, and how these factors could be applied to public health. Our purpose in this project is to help increase diversity in the health professions and improve the quality of low-income health care by targeting minority and female students and encouraging them to enter medical, nursing, or other health profession schools. It also aims to focus on the admission and academic support of minority students and females students who wish to enter the health fields.


The target audiences of this project are minority and female students, medical school deans, and undergraduate deans. We wish to target the minority and female students in order to encourage them to enter health fields and encourage them to assist communities that may have limited healthcare access, such as low-income communities. We wish to target this group in particular because these are the people who have the ability to directly improve through their education, training, and work the quality of medical care received by less fortunate groups. The targeted minority and female students should ideally be high school or undergraduate-aged students. We have chosen to target medical school deans because we would like them to realize the importance of admitting and supporting minority and female students. Medical schools should have a stake in the issue since they should be committed to increasing the care received by under-reached communities and on providing a diverse learning environment for their respective schools. We have also chosen to target undergraduate deans, because undergraduate institutions are a vital part of this initiative. Colleges and universities are needed to incubate well-educated and motivated students to enter medical schools. They also need to start the initiative by admitting the motivated minority and female students interested in health fields, so that when medical schools are choosing between candidates, these students are even an option to choose from.


The way in which we plan on producing this project is to create a user-friendly website with embedded videos that help illustrate our research and can act as a resource for potential minority and female health science students, medical school deans, and undergraduate deans. The home page will have a video showcasing two minority women (Chenlin and myself) who are pursuing health sciences, and a historian (Eshaan). Through this video, we would like to introduce why it is so important to have diversity in the health fields and why increasing the quality of health care for those who lack access is so important. This videowill incorporate ideas from the interviews, or phrases from the interviewees. We would like to have pages on the website targeted towards each audience group, as well as a section that gives these groups access to the interviews. For the website, we would like to create an advertisement specific to each group. For the students, something high-tech, like a social media ad, QR code, or interactive online advertisement might be effective. For medical school deans or undergraduate deans, a more traditional pamphlet or news article about the website might be more effective.


In terms of research, we may have to look into the demographic distribution of women vs. men in health science fields, as well as the demographic representation of minorities in health sciences. We also will need to look into how many minority medical professionals end up helping out lower-income, low-access, or in-need communities. We also need to look into why and how diversity in education and the workplace is beneficial. This research will be used in combination with the accounts of Lu Ann Aday and Ritsu Komaki.


Image Citations

Primary Care Physicians (PCP). N.d. Fox Valley Medicine, Ltd. Web. <http://www.fvmedicine.com/PrimaryCareProvider.aspx&gt;.

Questions to Ask Your Future Medical School. N.d. College Xpress. Web. 18 Oct. 2016. <http://www.collegexpress.com/interests/health-medicine/articles/prepping-professional-school/questions-ask-your-future-medical-school/&gt;.

Taking On The Inequities Of Rural Life: Is Life In Rural America Good For Your Health? N.d. Health Affairs Blog. Web. 18 Oct. 2016. <http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2015/07/30/taking-on-the-inequities-of-rural-life-is-life-in-rural-america-good-for-your-health/&gt;.


One thought on “Encouraging Underrepresented Groups to Pursue Health Sciences

  1. The idea of focusing your project around two doctors who are women of color is very interesting to me. I think it is a good idea to have such a large issue, gender and ethnic distribution in the medical field, explained using specific examples and stories from these two women. I am also interested to know how the stories of lower-income, low-access, and in-need communities will be told. It may be useful to continue to use specific example and narratives to have the most impact in telling these stories. Disregarding such narratives perpetuates the disconnect between low- and high-income communities.


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