Conversation Cafe

Advancing Health Care Workforce Diversity Through Community College Partnerships

Tuesday, September 19, 2023, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm CDT

The US health professions education community is reexamining its strategies to build an interprofessional health care workforce that is diverse, representative, and effective. Long-held strategies of Affirmative Action, while limited in their own right, must adjust in light of the June 2023 Supreme Court decision finding some examples unconstitutional. As institutions reassess, some have found potential partners in close proximity - local community and technical colleges with STEM and health professions programs.


Community and technical colleges often reflect the diversity of their surrounding communities more effectively than four-year institutions, and they have a track record of cultivating pathways to productive partnerships with other educational institutions, employers, and community organizations to educate and license the workforce according to local needs. The professions they educate tend to be essential, yet often overlooked, members of the healthcare team, like technicians, medical assistants, and community health workers. 


This Conversation Cafe will showcase examples of community and technical college partnerships that positively impact healthcare workforce diversity and inclusion locally, while creating stronger interprofessional teams that effectively engage all members. We encourage you to come with your questions or your experiences to contribute to this dialogue. 


Questions we will explore together may include: 

  • What are new or existing strategies to engage community colleges in IPE or partnership activities with health profession programs?
  • What is the value proposition for this engagement? 
  • What are barriers to engaging with community colleges and community college health workforce programs? 
  • Where might we look to support engaging with community colleges? 
  • What are the policy drivers influencing the importance of this effort?