Seed Next Generation
Project: Mentoring for high school students and the propagation of our PA profession in at-risk communities and non-whites to begin the process of closing the cultural gap in our profession. This project will be an extension of our established community outreach program, Project S.E.E.D. (Serving Everyone, Embracing Diversity) called S.E.E.D. Next Generation.
Purpose: The purpose of this project is to promote our profession and actively recruit non-whites to pursue the PA profession, by enrolling in pre-PA studies in universities and retain them in that pathway by individually mentoring them one-on-one giving advice on what classes to take and encouraging them throughout their college years and into the interview processes. In the United States, only 15% of practicing PAs are non-white. When compared to the latest US census, reflecting 37% of the US population being non-white there is a significant discrepancy between the cultural backgrounds of healthcare providers, specifically Physician Assistants, and the population we serve. When compared to the breakdown of the non-whites in our profession, 5% Hispanic, 5% Asian, 4% black, and 1% Native American/Alaskan-Native; the United States Census reports our population comprises of 16.7% Hispanic, 5% Asian, 13.1% black, 1.2% Native American/Alaskan-Native, as well as 2.3% of two or more races. We want to develop a program that will start narrowing this gap and have our profession be more reflective of the population we serve. Our purpose is not only to recruit non-whites to our profession, but also mentor them throughout the their college careers to ensure graduation and ability to apply to Physician Assistant school. In a report released by National Center for Education Statistics the percentages by race of the 2009-2010 graduating class is as follows; 72.9% white, 8.8% Hispanic, 10.3% black, 7.3% Asian, and 0.8% American Indian/Alaska Native. Many non-white enrollees are first-generation. A study by the Pell Institute, states that low-income, first-generation students are four times more likely to drop out within the first year of their studies than first year students who had neither of these risks. After 6 years 43% of these students left higher education without earning a degree, only 11% had earned their bachelor’s degree within those six years. These statistics emphasize the need for mentoring programs. Our program is aimed at retaining these students and increasing the percentage of those earning their bachelor’s degree.
*Recruit at-risk youths to pursue a medical profession, and specifically pursue the goal of becoming a physician assistant, emphasizing the locally practicing PAs.
*Develop and establish a procedure to present our profession to youths at local high school fairs and recruit youths into our mentoring program matching them personally with one student for the entirety of their university career.
*Promote cultural change within our profession starting with the local community.
*Produce a self-sustaining program that can be duplicated across the state of FL and eventually at a national level.
Plan: NSU Physician Assistant students will partner with local school administrators to develop a collaboration to provide information to current high school seniors in the advantages of choosing physician assistant as a viable, engaging future profession and encouraging them to prepare themselves for the rigors of college and the application process by pairing interested parties with PA students to guide them throughout university. We will produce a presentation using Florida PAs practicing in Lee and Collier County as well as informative information on our career to be used on career days or at career fairs. We have a partnership with a one local high school at this time to implement the pilot year, and as the semester continues, hopefully more local schools will be involved. Our desire is to develop a plan that can be implemented in all of our Nova branches and then eventually at that state and national level. This project can have a large impact on the lives of the young adults we mentor by providing them encouragement and an opportunity to be exposed to a future option.