Jennifer Y. C. Edgoose, MD, MPH; Lisa Steinkamp, PT, PhD, MBA; Kong Vang, MPH; Adrienne Hampton, MD; Natalie Dosch, BS
Background: Diversification of the health care workforce by race and ethnicity offers a strategy for addressing health care disparities. This study explored the experiences with pathways programming and mentoring of minority undergraduates aspiring to health professions careers.
Methods: We interviewed 21 minority undergraduates in 4 focus groups. The interviews explored participants’ backgrounds; perceptions of racial climate; exposure to health professions careers, mentors, and pathways programs; barriers to success; and desired support.
Results: Many participants described diminished confidence and feelings of isolation due to stereotyping and discrimination; some were empowered to pursue health care careers because of adversity. Common themes included desire for mentorship, earlier career exposure, and college readiness support.
Discussion: Minority students desire health career exposure, mentoring, pre-college advising, and a positive racial climate; unfortunately, these desires often go unmet.