The University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Margo Brooks Carthon is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Family and Community Health. Her work with disadvantaged groups and individuals includes a clinical background as an advanced practice nurse working in a community setting. This clinical experience along with doctoral training asa historian and health services researcher have uniquely positioned her to comprehensively examine the phenomenon of healthcare inequities in comprehensive and complementary ways. Dr. Brooks Carthon received a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing where she was the recipient of a F31 predoctoral grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for a study, which examined the historical and social determinants of health inequities in Black Philadelphia residents at the turn of the twentieth century. She later augmented her qualitative skill set by obtaining advanced postdoctoral training in health services research in the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Brooks Carthon has served as the Primary Investigator of several P30 pilot grants using multivariate modeling to explore the impact of nursing on health care quality on minority outcomes including patient satisfaction and mortality. She is currently entering the second year of a NIH/NINR K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award with a special focus in disparities research and nursing outcomes.
Health professional disciplines across the country are grappling with the impact of major shifts in the United States populace, including a rapid increase in the proportion of Americans who are non-white, for whom English is not a primary language, and who hold a wide range of cultural values and beliefs regarding health care. The racial and ethnic discordance between health professionals is most alarming in nursing due to a looming workforce shortage, which constitutes a significant threat to the nation’s health in general and more specifically to ethnic and racial minorities already at risk for inequities in healthcare.
The nature of the nurse shortage and quality concerns associated with a non-diverse health care workforce, suggests the need for comprehensive, evidenced-based practices to recruit and retain highly qualified individuals from underrepresented minority (URM) backgrounds. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Division of Nursing readily addressed this challenge by providing financial support for the Nursing Workforce Diversity (NWD) grant program, as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Funds were granted to 47 nursing schools across 27 states and Puerto Rico to support initiatives across nursing schools to recruit and retain under represented students in baccalaureate nursing programs.
The current research project will include the conduct of an electronically based, national survey of the 47 Nursing Workforce Diversity grantees as well as a comparison cohort of non-grantees in order to: 1) Evaluate the baseline status, program structures and implementation processes of selected nursing pipeline programs and 2) Develop a common set of pipeline program measures. The results of this research will help improve implementation efforts, provide important feedback to programs of nursing and National stakeholders, and assist in identifying aspects of nursing pipeline interventions that work best.
My New Connections Experience
I applied for the New Connection grant in order to support my research on examining the role of the nursing workforce and healthcare disparities among racial and ethnic minorities.
As a New Connections grantee I have met exceptional scholars from a wide range of disciplines. I have also had the opportunity to hone research skills in program evaluation and survey design through the generous support from the RWJF at a critical point in my professional development.
Dr. Brooks Carthon’s program of research is focused on examining the social determinants of racial and ethnic health disparities and understanding how healthcare systems, specifically nursing care can be optimized to provide higher quality services to underrepresented ethnic and racial groups and individuals. While a large body of research has demonstrated links between disparities outcomes and the quality of institutions where minorities receive care, there is a dearth of scholarship examining how nursing care within these settings influence outcomes. Dr. Brooks Carthon’s program of research addresses this knowledge gap and aligns with the recently published IOM/RJWF supported Future of Nursing report, which outlined the significant nurse workforce constraints looming in the future as baby boomers retire from clinical and faculty positions. The projected RN shortfalls may place minority communities at particular risk as this population ages and its health care challenges become increasingly more complex. Dr. Brooks Carthon’s program of research progressively considers these challengesthrough its focus on the nursing workforce and the heath care needs of minority communities.
- New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
- Award Year: 2011
- RWJF Team/Portfolio: Human Capital
- Project Name: The Diversity Imperative: Assessing the Impact of Recruitment and Retention Pipeline Initiatives to Increase Minority Representation in Nursing