Student Poster

Keys to Success: An Interprofessional Cohort Program Towards Black Pre-Health Student Success

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Pipeline Programs

Black healthcare providers and health-related students are underrepresented compared to their overall population in the United States. Pipeline programs are essential for retention of Black students in the health professions. Black students at Predominantly White Institutions (PWI) generally face several challenges, namely a lack of institutional support, connections, and role models. Combined with systemic racism, these overlapping issues fail to encourage a sense of belonging at their institutions. To overcome these challenges, the interprofessional (including six colleges) “Keys to Success” (K2S) program was developed for undergraduate pre-health Black students in the Health Science Center at a large Southern PWI. Through an interprofessional learning approach, the program’s primary purpose is to create meaningful relationships among students and the health professions faculty, thus building a community that encourages academic pursuit in health-related fields, as well as personal growth, wellness, and a sense of belonging. This presentation aims to describe: 1) the interprofessional K2S program and 2) monthly participant logs utilized for ongoing program evaluation.

The K2S program included academic enrichment, interprofessional education activities, advising, peer mentoring, and wellness activities. It was delivered primarily online, with monthly meetings consisting of exploration topics from each of the six colleges. Each month, students (N&#3f30) were asked to complete an open-ended survey, “monthly log,” to identify challenges, successes, and suggestions for the program. The log content was continuously content analyzed to identify major aspects for ongoing program improvements.

Throughout the program, students identified their main challenges to be school workload, work-life balance, procrastination, and mental health challenges, such as burn-out, imposter syndrome, anxiety, depression, stress, and self-doubt. Students reported K2S: 1) provided a safe space to connect with others like them who are going through similar struggles; 2) helped them feel more comfortable reaching out for help, including wellness resources; and 3) peer mentors were supportive and helpful. Overwhelmingly, students suggested K2S should have more in-person events and more ways to connect with other cohort members (e.g., social events, study groups).

The interprofessional K2S program raised awareness among Black pre-health students about different health professions, helpful resources (e.g., faculty contacts, wellness center), and encouraging mentors. The ongoing program evaluation log content reflected that virtual programming did not facilitate students’ engagement, possibly influenced by associated mental health challenges (e.g. lack of motivation and program participation). Monthly logs were valuable to monitor program goals and adjust to build a sense of community for students and health professions faculty.