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Kellogg Grant Enlists Duke’s Help to Diversify U.S. Health Care Work Force

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke University Medical Center is one of
three partners in a new $3.6 million W.K. Kellogg Foundation
program designed to increase the work force diversity of
America's health professions.

On Thursday, Sept. 5, representatives from the Kellogg
Foundation, the three partner institutions and special guest
Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., president emeritus of the Morehouse
School of Medicine and former U.S. Secretary of Health and
Human Services, will be at Duke for the first meeting of the
grant recipients. Duke will receive $1.5 million of the grant
and the remainder will be split between the National Institute of Medicine and
Community
Catalyst
, a Boston-based national health consumer advocacy
organization.

"We are extremely proud to be part of this important
national effort," Ralph Snyderman, M.D., chancellor for health
affairs at Duke University and president and CEO of Duke
University Health System, said in announcing the gift.
"Bringing more diversity into the health professions improves
our ability to improve the health of people who are currently
not benefiting from significant advances in prevention,
diagnosis and treatment."

According to Henrie M. Treadwell, Ph.D., program director at
the Kellogg Foundation, Duke was selected from among a number
of other medical educational institutions.

"Duke not only says they support diversity, they do it,"
said Treadwell. "We did not see a better model or a better
team. The institution's prestige and the commitment from its
president and Medical Center leadership made Duke the
pre-eminent choice."

Currently 20 percent of Duke medical students are from
under-represented minority groups, and 95 percent graduate in
four years or less -- among the highest rates in the
country.

Today minorities comprise about 25 percent of the United
States population, yet only 6 percent of the country's
practicing physicians are Latinos, African Americans and native
Americans, according to William C. Richardson, Kellogg
Foundation president and CEO.

Earlier this year, the National Institute of Medicine
released a report, "Unequal
Treatment,"
that linked minority patients'
disproportionately high level of mortality and disease to the
lack of a diverse health-care-provider work force. The research
showed that African-American and Hispanic physicians see
significantly more African-American and Hispanic patients than
their white counterparts do.

Another report released in April by Community Catalyst
showed that after decades of trying to graduate more minority
doctors, teaching hospitals and medical schools continue to use
selection criteria and training processes that restrict
minorities from entering the medical profession.

Kellogg will provide support to the three partner
institutions in pursuing different approaches for increasing
diversity in the health care work force, which includes
doctors, dentists, nurses and health care administrators.

Duke School of Medicine will form a national blue-ribbon
panel to raise public awareness of the problem and examine
college and university admissions policies and their impact on
minority enrollment. Panel members will be chosen for their
leadership in a variety of sectors, including higher education,
corporate, entertainment, religion and community advocacy.

Under the direction of Brenda Armstrong, M.D., an associate
professor of pediatric cardiology who became Duke University
School of Medicine director of admissions in 1995, Duke's
percentages of under-represented minorities has increased
significantly.

Armstrong herself was a member of only the third Duke
University entering undergraduate class to include African
Americans in 1966. When she attended medical school at St.
Louis University in the early 1970s, she was the only
African-American woman in her class. "The environment was quite
isolated, and the atmosphere was extraordinarily hostile,"
Armstrong recalled. "There were few minority faculty, and
almost no minority house staff."

At Duke she has implemented an aggressive minority
recruitment program and advocated for changes in the admissions
process -- such as balancing the traditional heavy reliance on
the Medical School Admissions Test (MCAT) against other
academic descriptors such as grade point average, strength of
curriculum and breadth and depth of curricular choices;
improving the diversity of the admissions committee; and
defining and identifying human interests and values in the
admissions process.

Armstrong said she believes that "members of the health care
professions need to look and feel like the people for whom they
will be caring, across all platforms -- clinical care, teaching
and biomedical research."

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 to "help
people help themselves through the practical application of
knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and
that of future generations." Its programming activities center
around the common vision of a world in which each person has a
sense of worth; accepts responsibility for self, family,
community and societal well-being; and has the capacity to be
productive and to help create nurturing families, responsive
institutions and health communities.

To achieve the greatest impact, the foundation targets its
grants toward specific areas. These include: health; food
systems and rural development; youth and education; and
philanthropy and volunteerism. Within these areas, attention is
given to exploring learning opportunities in leadership,
information and communication technology; capitalizing on
diversity; and social and economic community development.
Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and
the Caribbean and the southern African countries of Botswana,
Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

For further information, visit the foundation's Web site at
www.wkkf.org.

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