Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Evaluation of Health Professional Development Curricula for the Spirit Lake Dakota Nation
by Rubinstein, Pesha, M.P.H., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, 2013, 51; 1534972
Abstract (Summary)

Background: Compared to white citizens of the US, American Indians (AI) experience health disparities that include significantly higher rates of diabetes, obesity, tuberculosis, infant mortality, alcoholism, and suicide. With higher rates of unemployment and poverty, the social determinants of health dictate poorer access to health care, and, ultimately, shorter life expectancy. As the AI population expands at twice the rate of the rest of the US, disparities will worsen. Underserved minorities prefer to see racially concordant health care professionals, and minority health care professionals are likelier to serve their own communities. Therefore, a strategy for reducing disparities is to increase the number of minority health care professionals. Enrichment programs have shown some success in encouraging the pursuit of health careers by minority students. Enrichment programs at Indian tribal colleges can readily reach and influence career intent of AIs.

Methods: A three-week summer course, "Community and Public Health," was offered to AIs at Cankdeska Cikana Community College. Data analysis using a paired sample t-test compared pre-course mean responses on a survey about career intent to post-course mean responses. An evaluation summary provided qualitative data.

Results: Eleven AI students completed the course. Data analysis showed no statistically significant change between any of the survey mean responses. Open-ended responses to the survey and on the evaluation provided qualitative data that the course positively influenced the students toward pursuit of health professions.

Conclusion: Enrichment courses at tribal colleges may influence AIs to pursue health professions. To increase the number of AI health care professionals so as to help reduce health disparities in this underserved population, there is opportunity for planners to: 1) design programs with multiple interventions that occur over a longer time span, and 2) plan programs that match AI students to specific health careers, eg, nurse, physician, dentist, and reinforce the match through mentorships with professionals.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ripp, Jonathan A.
Commitee: Hennig, Nils
School: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Department: Public Health
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: MAI 51/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Education, Public health, Native American studies, Community college education, Health education
Keywords: American Indian, Disparities, Enrichment program, Tribal college, Underserved minorities, Native American, Spirit Lake Dakota Nation
Publication Number: 1534972
ISBN: 978-1-267-97873-8
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