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. Continue reading

Texas Women’s History: What Does Diversity Mean to the Medical Field?

Our project is based on materials from Texas Women’s History archive, which includes interviews of women medical practitioners in Texas Medical Center. The two female doctors we have chosen to research more deeply upon are Dr. Lu Ann Aday, an epidemiologist and an expert in health policy born and raised in Texas, and Dr. Ritsu Komaki, a Japanese woman who now works as a radiation oncologist in MD Anderson. We are studying what benefit diversity in ethnicity and background can bring to the medical field, and how access to healthcare in terms of education and treatments varies across national borders.

 

 

Our targeted audiences are admission officers of medical schools, college administrators, and minority undergraduates who want to pursue a medical career. Our research in the benefit minority groups brings to healthcare appeals to our audience in different ways: medical schools need to know the positive impact of having doctors with different backgrounds; college administrators can have more insights in providing more opportunities for underrepresented student groups; the minority pre-med students can have a better understanding of the distinct value in their international perspectives and unique personal experiences and the fact that they can be as competitive and successful as any others in medicine. Moreover, our analysis on Dr. Lu Ann Aday’s research in healthcare access and Dr. Ritsu Komaki’s international background in medicine carries weight because these are the problems that the future doctors need to address, and they are the answer to why we need a diversity of medical personnel. Both medical schools and pre-med students care about the career outlook and how doctors from different backgrounds can contribute.

In order to effectively reach our audience and achieve our goals of informing them the impact of diversity in healthcare, we will build a website which is most accessible to our audience and centralizes all resources and our findings. We will put up a video on the homepage, which features our takeaways from this research project – Ariana and I are planning on entering the healthcare field, and we both fit the bill of minorities in this industry: she is Hispanic and I’m an international student. We will basically summarize the whole project and talk about how it inspires us, and the visitors can reach the core of this research through the video very quickly. We will also create three different types of flyers that focus on the questions that different audience groups care most about, and lead them to the right location of the website where they can find the answer.

women-in-science-3-e1430588224659To make this project more comprehensive and effective, we will firstly conduct research on how are different genders and ethnic groups represented in the US medical field currently, gathering data such as medical school admission statistics. This will help us better understand the current situation and reach more accurate conclusions. Additionally, we will reach out to Rice administrators and ask about how they see the importance of diversity in STEM subjects or healthcare, and we will conduct a survey on how confident Rice pre-meds feel as a medical school applicant in terms of their gender, ethnicity, and background. Ultimately, our project is aimed to raise awareness of the importance of diversity in medical practitioners and its positive effect on healthcare and to better inform and inspire our audience.