The Office of Outreach and Multicultural Affairs, or OMA, at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson has been competitively awarded a $3.5 million Center of Excellence, or COE, grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, or HRSA, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The funds provided by the five-year grant will support OMA’s longstanding commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion in the health-care workforce.
The HRSA-funded Arizona Center of Excellence will serve as an innovative resource and education center to recruit, train and retain primarily Latino/Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native students and faculty at the UA College of Medicine.
“This award builds on the work of our recently funded AZ-HOPE – Arizona Health Opportunities Pathways to Excellence,” said Dr. Ana Maria Lopez, UA associate dean for outreach and multicultural affairs and principal investigator for the HRSA COE grant and for AZ-HOPE, which was funded by a Health Career Opportunities Program, or HCOP, grant from HRSA in 2011.
“AZ-HOPE has established a multistep pipeline for underrepresented graduate students and medical students to contribute to the academic workforce and lays the foundation for the development and evaluation of models to strengthen the health-care workforce to meet the growing challenges of chronic illness in the communities we serve,” said Lopez, who also is professor of medicine and medical director of the UA College of Medicine’s Arizona Telemedicine Program.
“This recognition of the UA College of Medicine as one of only 14 institutions to receive the Center of Excellence grant will enhance the college’s capacity to support our academic pipeline, the needs of our Arizona Health Sciences Center professionals and the health concerns of our communities,” said J. Lyle Bootman, UA senior vice president for health sciences.
The Arizona Center of Excellence will engage academic partners from the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, UA colleges of pharmacy and nursing, UA Arizona Area Health Education Centers, UA Native American Research and Training Center, UA department of American Indian studies and UA department of Mexican American studies and also will engage community partners from the Arizona Inter-Tribal Council, tribal colleges, community colleges and Sunnyside Unified School District.
UA partners include Dr. Carlos Gonzales, associate professor, UA department of family and community medicine; Dr. Nicole Stern, assistant professor, UA department of medicine; and Maria Teresa Velez, associate dean, UA Graduate College.
The Arizona Center of Excellence’s specific goals demonstrate:
- Institutional commitment to eliminating health disparities, with a particular emphasis on the health priorities of American Indian/Alaska Native and Latino/Hispanic populations.
- Innovative educational e-learning and virtual technologies to strengthen and expand programs that enhance the academic performance of underrepresented students at the UA College of Medicine.
- Cultural competence of health profession educators, students, graduates and faculty of the UA College of Medicine and other health professions schools at the Arizona Health Sciences Center.
- Best practice models for underrepresented faculty development and retention, multicultural curricula and faculty and student research engagement to address the health needs of underrepresented and underserved populations.
The HRSA Centers of Excellence program awards grants to assist designated health professions schools in supporting programs of excellence in health professions education for under-represented minority individuals. HRSA is the primary federal agency for improving access to health-care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable.