Supporting Students of Diversity

NAAHP is committed to supporting advisors working with students from all backgrounds as they prepare for careers in the health professions. These resources provide up to date information about work being done to support students from diverse backgrounds within the health professions.

Advisor Resources

The Advisor Special Edition: Diversity Matters (June 2017)

Advising Prehealth Students with Disabilities: Top 10 Myths and Resources (NAAHP conference presentation, 2018)

Increasing Diversity in the Health Professions: Reflections on Student Pipeline Programs (Journal of Healthcare, Science, and the Humanities, 2016)

ExploreHealthCareers.org (EHC) is a free, multidisciplinary health careers website designed to explain the array of health professions and provide easy access to students seeking information about health careers. EHC gives students a reliable, comprehensive source of accurate and up-to-date information for nearly 120 health professions including career overviews, academic requirements, and links to national associations.

 US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health

More Information

Visit the NAAHP Committee on Diversity and Inclusion page to learn more about NAAHP's initiatives to promote diversity.

A Highlighted Initiative: SHPEP

The Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) is a FREE six-week summer career-enrichment opportunity for college freshman and sophomores interested in careers in the health professions. The health profession tracks available include:medicine, dentistry, nursing, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant and public health.

The program is committed to strengthening the career development of underrepresented and/or economically disadvantaged students and prepare them for a successful career in the health professions.

SHPEP offers students a variety of academic and career experiences:

    • Academic enrichment in the basic sciences and quantitative topics.
    • Learning and study skills development, including methods of individual and group learning.
    • Clinical exposure through small-group rotations in health care settings, simulation experiences, and seminars. This is limited to 5% of program time for all the sites.
    • Career development sessions directed toward exploration of the health professions, the admissions process, and the development of an individualized education plan.
    • A financial literacy and planning workshop that informs students of financial concepts and strategies.
    • A health policy seminar series to expose scholars to a larger view of health care, health systems, and the social determinants of health.
    • An introduction to interprofessional education that addresses effective collaboration across health professions.

SHPEP is a national program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Dental Education Association (ADEA).

On Diversity

"The Sullivan Commission on Diversity in the Health care Workforce finds that African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and certain segments of the nation's Asian/Pacific Islander population are not present in significant numbers. Rather, they are missing! While some outstanding physicians, dentists, and nurses are minorities, access to a health professions career remains largely separate and unequal.

We call upon leaders in the public and private sectors in our country, including key stakeholders in the health and education systems, to act on these recommendations and to solve this crisis by utilizing the strategy of inclusion in crafting solutions. It is time to correct the imbalance in our health professions. If we fail to do so, we risk catastrophe in view of the rapid demographic changes occurring in our society. We must work hard and we must dream again!"


— Louis Sullivan, MD
Chair, Sullivan Commission on Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce
September 2004