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Description: A racially and ethnically diverse health workforce helps improve provider-patient communication, patient outcomes and satisfaction, and access to care for underserved populations; reduce disparities in healthcare; and provide better experiences for students in the health professions. A diverse health workforce that is well-distributed across the state improves the chances of racial concordance, allowing patients to establish relationships with providers who share common backgrounds and have similar life experiences. Yet, health workforce diversity does not typically match population diversity. This presentation will describe the diversity of South Carolina’s health workforce and examine statewide programs and partnerships through South Carolina AHEC to help support diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Presenters will discuss strategies for implementing a series of statewide health equity programming through the implementation of ongoing, dialogue-based health equity and social justice programs. In addition, presenters will share their experiences utilizing an asset-based approach for developing an innovative and sustainable interprofessional education program for future health professionals in rural and underserved areas.

Authors:

  • Katie Gaul, Director, South Carolina Office for Healthcare Workforce, South Carolina AHEC
  • Jennifer Bailey, Associate Program Director for Education and Evaluation, South Carolina AHEC
  • Jarvetta Heyward, Education and Evaluation Coordinator, South Carolina AHEC
  • Dawn Leberknight, Curriculum Coordinator, South Carolina AHEC