Marquette Leads National Efforts in Minority Health Career
Recruitment and Education
The Marquette University College of Health Sciences
and School of Dentistry is leading efforts to educate a diverse
workforce in some of the most high-demand health professions.
For the 23 rd consecutive year, one of the longest running programs
in the country, Marquette has earned federally funded Health Career
Opportunity Program (HCOP) grants which support recruitment, education,
career exploration, and retention programs for disadvantaged students
in the health professions.
Marquette 's comprehensive model of partnership with Milwaukee
Public Schools (MPS) and Milwaukee Community-Based-Organizations
has served to graduate 509 health care practitioners from minority
and disadvantaged backgrounds into careers in dentistry, physical
therapy, and physician assistant studies.
Since the program's inception in the Marquette Dental School in
1981, minority enrollment in that school has increased from 2%
to the current 20%, and over 300 disadvantaged students have graduated.
The Physical Therapy Department began it's HCOP in 1992, and has
received at least six national awards for minority initiatives
by the American Physical Therapy Association. The Physical
Therapy program has graduated 10 MPS students since 1992; eight
of the ten have gone on to earn a masters degree.
Most racial and ethnic minorities are under-represented within
the health professions. Just 10 percent of physicians, 8 percent
of dentists, and 13 percent of registered nurses are minorities.
In contrast, the U.S. population is roughly 29 percent minority
and expected to grow to 41 percent by 2030.
Increasing minority and disadvantaged representation in the health
professions in critical for improving access to health care in
underserved areas. Research shows that minority health care professionals
provide more care for the poor and uninsured and for patients
in their own racial/ethnic groups than nonminority providers.
Lawrence G. Pan, PT, PhD, Chair and Professor of Marquette University
Department of Physical Therapy and head of Marquette's HCOP program,
points to the comprehensive nature of the program as key to the
its success. “You can't just have one element such as recruitment
or mentoring, but you need a complete package to help these particular
students enter and succeed in the challenging health care fields.
Our top concern is educating a diverse health care workforce for
the underserved urban areas around us. We're proud of our terrific
graduates thus far, but we want to take our efforts even further.”
Marquette 's HCOP program focuses its recruitment
efforts on Milwaukee and urban Chicago . Both of these areas have
medical and dental health professional shortage areas and are
consistently in need of new pipelines of health care practitioners.
Marquette has instituted a variety of recruitment programs designed
to expose middle and high school students early on to careers
in the health science. These programs include:
In addition, Marquette offers intensive summer programs
to provide mentoring and educational enrichment opportunities
for minority high school students interested medical professions.
Students live and attend classes on the Marquette campus. Housing,
meals, and transportation costs are provided while they participate
in ACT/SAT prep classes, field trips, employability and professional
skill development. There is a separate program for students interested
in a career in speech pathology.
- Saturday Academy –For a small group of disadvantaged or minority
high school seniors, the Saturday Academy is designed to expose
provide in-depth exposure to the various aspects of science
and health care professions.
- Pre-College Program - A mentoring based program where the
participants are paired with a Marquette physical therapy student
to participate in a variety of after-school.
- Medical Explorers - P rovides exposure to high school freshmen
and sophomores to health care professions during b i-weekly
meetings held in the evenings at Marquette . Participants attend
field trips and demonstrations, and interact with health care
professionals to gain a better understanding their career options.
HCOP program participants receive supplemental instruction in
some of the hard science areas such as biochemistry and human anatomy
that will be essential in their future coursework. In many cases,
peer tutors also lead and facilitate study sessions, as well as
advise and provide orientation to participants in the development
of their academic and interactive skills. Students are also advised
on academic support issues such as managing anxiety, time management,
improving concentration and motivation, and improving study habits.
Counseling, Mentorship and Retention
Students are provided with the personal and professional support
they need through individual and group advising opportunities. Financial
The cost of college education can be the single most daunting
prospect of a career in the health sciences for many of these students.
That is why Marquette offers financial aid counseling during recruitment
and summer programs and all advising sessions.
Expanding the Program
Marquette is undertaking efforts to expand MPS partnerships
with three new Science/Biotech Academies, and new HCOP initiatives
in the undergraduate majors of Speech-Language Pathology, Clinical
Laboratory Science, and Biomedical Science.