The California Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) has awarded a $3 million grant to CSUDH to help establish a Health Professions Pathway Program in the College of Health, Human Services and Nursing (CHHSN). The program is designed to support and encourage students from underrepresented regions and backgrounds to pursue health care careers.
“HCAI is pleased to provide this financial support for pipeline programs, internships, and fellowships that will open the door to needed health care professions for students, and in turn help the state create a more diverse health care workforce,” said HCAI Director Elizabeth Landsberg.
CHHSN Dean Mi-Sook Kim said that the funding will be used for three CSUDH initiatives. One will establish allied health pathway programs for incoming high school and transfer students. It will help students better discover the career options available to them, while providing them with structured rubrics to help them choose the right courses for their interests.
“This pathway program is a dream project for a health college,” said Kim. “Many universities are unable to do this type of programming because they don’t have the resources to do it right. It’s exciting for the college. We are all motivated to make the most of this opportunity to help us achieve this goal.”
The funds will also help CHHSN establish a paid summer internship program for Toro health students. Because internships are typically unpaid, many CSUDH students are unable to pursue them. “So many students here come from underserved or low-income populations. They tend to need to at a job that earns them money, rather than unpaid internships.”
“They’re the group that we need to support more to be able to go into the health care sector workforce,” Kim added. “We need a lot more diversity, but often those students are the very ones who are unable to do it right.” The HCAI grant will allow CSUDH to provide 20 paid summer internships for CHHSN students per year for the next five years.
In addition, the funds will support the development of a post-undergraduate fellowship program targeting underserved student populations. The fellowships will provide five students with $25,000 each, so that they can explore careers in health care without the added pressure of having to find a job.
“This is really a student success plan at the college level,” said Kim. “I get excited whenever I talk about it, but this won’t be an easy task. These funds will help us get off to a good start. Now it’s up to us to do the hard work.”