It is well documented that the United States needs a national, overarching effort to better coordinate programs and funders in order to stimulate greater health workforce diversity. A lack of coordination among regional, state, and local efforts –and across stages of the educational pipeline–makes it very difficult to sustain gains from one educational stage to the next. To that end, forming collaborations to diversify the health professions is an important strategy employed by The Sullivan Alliance.
The Sullivan Alliance’s initiatives are prioritized and cross the health professions of medicine, dentistry, nursing, psychology, and public health with the expectation that efforts in these areas will also benefit the other health professions. As a result, projects that develop new models for inter-professional training and culturally-competent care delivery are particularly compatible with the Alliance mission.
The Alliance has enabled and promoted the development of state alliances and regional consortiums of minority undergraduate colleges with academic health centers. Institutional state partners act as “pathfinders” to identify and test best practices to diversify the health workforce. The effort has proved to be an efficient way to build momentum and gains in moving the diversity agenda forward. These alliances, and the resulting “health professionals pipeline” best practice models, have the potential of spurring federal action where it is needed most.
The Sullivan Alliance has five state alliances established, including:
- Florida Alliance
- Maryland Alliance
- North Carolina Alliance
- Ohio Alliance
- Virginia-Nebraska Alliance
The Sullivan Alliance accommodates many requests for collaborations, guidance, and data, and anticipates the development of additional alliances, consortiums, and partnerships in all regions of the country. It is especially committed to increasing the availability of health care professionals in minority communities and in rural and inner city Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).
National and International Initiatives
Most recently, answering the U.S. Government’s call to increase the nation’s healthcare workforce capacity by recruiting and training more entry- and mid-level health professionals, the Alliance is participating in a nationwide project funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to expand access to dental care through the training of mid-level dental professionals.
In addition, The Sullivan Alliance is part of an international consortium that aims to build a U.S.-Caribbean research partnership that will explore the similarities and differences in health disparities between English-speaking American and Caribbean populations of African descent. The consortium is led by NIH’s National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIH-NIMHD) and the United States of America (U.S.)-Caribbean Alliance for Health Disparities Research (USCAHDR).