Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Well-designed programs can increase the diversity of California’s health care workforce while helping young people of color overcome high unemployment rates and establish themselves in solid careers, a new report from The Greenlining Institute argues.

“In a state where people of color make up over 60 percent of the population, people of color make up just 34 percent of physicians and 47 percent of registered nurses, and are underrepresented in other health fields as well,” said report co-author Anthony Galace, Greenlining’s health policy director. “Boosting these numbers can help to assure culturally competent care while creating career pathways for disadvantaged young people.”

Greenlining conducted extensive interviews with experts in the field and distilled them into a series of recommendations, including:

  • Forge strong partnerships between health pipeline programs and local schools. Effective programs connect mentoring and exposure to career options with school health curricula.
  • Ensure opportunities to disconnected youth and young people of color. Programs should reach out to youth who are homeless, in foster care, involved in the criminal justice system, or are neither in school nor working.
  • Facilitate culturally competent mentorship between youth and health care professionals. When a mentor and mentee share identities — such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, etc. — this facilitates greater connection and support.
  • Provide comprehensive wellness support. Young people of color in urban environments can face a variety of challenges, from exposure to violence to inability to afford transportation. Programs should go beyond professional education/mentorship and address these needs.

Click the following link to read the full report, “BUILDING A DIVERSE HEALTH CAREER PIPELINE: Best Practices for Supporting Young People of Color Pursuing a Career in Health Care.”