Coordinating and Linking Programs Directed Toward Increasing the Numbers of Minority and Disadvantaged Individuals in the Health Professions

HRD-81-86: Published: May 5, 1981. Publicly Released: May 5, 1981.

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Many federal programs established over the past two decades are directed toward increasing the numbers of disadvantaged and minority students in the health professions. Currently, these programs are separately administered by various entities within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Education. In June 1979, the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare established a task force to review efforts to improve access in the health professions for disadvantaged and minority individuals.

As of February 1981, the requested draft plan for assuring appropriate coordination among HHS programs had not been approved or implemented. Officials could not be certain when or if the plan would be implemented because the new Administration was reexamining many HHS programs for budgetary purposes. The initiatives to coordinate and link HHS and Education programs never materialized. The major federal responsibility for increasing the readiness of disadvantaged or minority students to seek health professions careers is in the Department of Education. While most Education programs were general and not designed to point students toward specific careers, they can make students more competitive for various careers. Programs such as the Biomedical Sciences Program provide outreach and assistance specifically to students interested in the health fields. Changes by the new Administration could affect the many separate programs that influence the numbers of disadvantaged and minority individuals pursuing health careers. However, until these changes occur, there is a need to coordinate the HHS programs and to link HHS and Education programs at the lower or secondary level to those at the higher education levels.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should: (1) direct that the draft plan for coordinating HHS efforts be finalized and implemented, and (2) designate an official to work with Education in developing a plan to coordinate and link Education's programs with those of HHS.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services


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