Health Professions Pathways (H2P) Program
Ebbin Dotson, PhD, MHSA is the Executive Director of the Health Professions Pathways (H2P) Programan. Prior to joining H2P, Dr. Dotson served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health where he taught courses in organizational behavior and the integration of health systems. His research topics include healthcare management, policy, leadership, diversity, health disparities, and the macro-micro management nexus in healthcare organizations.
He is currently engaged in research that is focused on identifying predictive assessment measures that help support the business case for leadership diversity within organizations. His research partners include: Texas Health Institute, UTHealth Center for Emergency Research, UTHealth George McMillan Fleming Center for Healthcare Management, UTHealth Office of Cultural and Institutional Diversity, University of Michigan School of Public Health Summer Enrichment Program, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Connections Program.
Dr. Dotson received his PhD in Health Services and Policy Analysis from the University of California at Berkeley School of Public Health. He also earned a Masters of Health Services Administration degree from the University of Michigan School of Public Health in the Department of Health Management and Policy. Professionally, Dr. Dotson has worked with senior management teams at the University of Michigan Health System and Kaiser Permanente.
This project was funded to assess a federal funding mechanism, the HRSA Health Career Opportunity Program (HCOP), and its grantees across a set of success factors as a test of effectiveness for recruitment and retention of diverse students for health professions. The goal is to identify and compare specific resources and personnel being used in institutional pipeline programs for diversity recruitment and retention strategies.
To ensure that our healthcare system will be able to meet the increased demands of the growing and diverse population, educational institutions must increase the number and variety of skilled healthcare providers to address future challenges. Pipeline programs have been instrumental as vehicles to channel and increase the number of students pursing health professions, especially minority students. Less clearly understood are the programmatic characteristics of pipeline programs that effectively use recruitment and retention efforts to increase diversity of students seeking health degree programs.
The design utilizes a systematic review and survey analysis to evaluate the effects for pipeline programs funded between 2000-2010. To achieve this objective, I will scan and survey institutionally based pipeline programs that are part of a general vision to create and sustain a diverse healthcare workforce based on participation in HCOP funding mechanism. The strategy and action plan to reach this goal will include a systematic review, a survey analysis, and as assessment of best practice innovations.
Many of the HCOP grantees have published articles highlighting successes, but there has not been a thorough study of the effectiveness of HCOP grantees on recruitment and retention efforts that lead to increases in the number of disadvantaged students in health degree programs. A systematic literature review will provide a summary of grantee outcomes and measures of success. This will provide the survey component information related to gaps, obstacles, measurable outcomes, and resource constraints. An assessment of best practices will provide an in-depth look at what is considered innovative, inspirational, and effective. Through this project, I will be able to help the RWJF strengthen the programmatic efforts of stakeholder institutions towards increasing the diversity of the healthcare workforce pipeline.
My New Connections Experience
I was very excited to apply to the New Connections: Increasing Diversity of RWJF Programming “”” Junior Investigators Program because of the network and resources that being a grantee afforded. The New Connections program was one of the few funding opportunities that included an additional set of resources in the form of Symposiums, clinics, trainings, etc…specifically designed to address the challenges faced by junior investigators. Its focus on minority researchers, with the goal of increasing access to RWJF’s resource network of collaborators, data, and programs, was also a major reason for applying. I initially learned about the Junior Investigators Program, and New Connections as a great research network, at their Fourth Annual Symposium as a first-time attendee. It helped to reinforce the importance of my research in the battle to eliminate health disparities. The speakers and participants openness about how certain personal experiences influenced their professional research paths helped me reflect on key moments in my life that positively influenced my research agenda and illuminated why it is personal to me. Because each funding round addressed different RWJF relevant topics, I knew it would be important to apply to the round that most closely associated with my research. In the most recent round, the Human Capital Portfolio focus on pipeline programs was very much aligned with my own research on leadership diversity. Many of my research efforts are focused around addressing the lack of workforce diversity in healthcare organizations, especially at the leadership level, because I believe it is a factor contributing to access issues and chronic health conditions. I believe that the effectiveness of these programs is critical to increasing workforce diversity, especially at the leadership level.
From the start of my relationship with New Connections, it has been one of the most important mentoring and support networks of my early career. It adds energy to my research to know that I can draw upon my cohort researchers, one of my symposium-introduced colleagues, or one of the program staff whenever I need help. As a minority in academia, the feeling of isolation or relevance can easily thwart progress. I have found that being a part of New Connections minimizes these feelings because you feel very connected to other researchers, almost like a research family. New Connections has been able to advance fields and produce groundbreaking and innovative research, even when traditional funding mechanisms are scarce. It is no secret in the world of scholarly research that funding is highly associated with success. As a grantee, it is great to know that RWJF values my research ideas and that the New Connections program provided this opportunity to continue on the road to success.
Healthcare management, policy, leadership, diversity, culture, health disparities, organizational theory and behavior, predictive assessment, student recruitment and retention.
- New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
- Award Year: 2011
- RWJF Team/Portfolio: Human Capital
- Project Name: The Pipeline Effect: Recruitment, Retention, and Best Practices of Health Career Programs