Three WesternU colleges rank in the Top 10 nationally for professional degrees awarded to Hispanics, according to a recently released report by the Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine. 

The College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) tied for sixth place among osteopathic medical schools nationwide, with five Hispanic graduates in the 2007-08 academic year. The College of Pharmacy tied for eighth among pharmacy schools with five graduates. The College of Veterinary Medicine tied for fourth among veterinary schools with four graduates.

Student clubs such as the Latino Medical Student Association serve as part of a statewide communication and support network for medical and pre-medical students interested in developing health care services for Hispanic underserved communities.

“Since my arrival, I have vigorously supported (LMSA’s) efforts to reach out into the community and nationally, to attend conferences and community service events in an effort to enhance the understanding of osteopathic medicine and health care professions in the Latino community,” said COMP Dean Clinton Adams, DO, FAAFP, FACHE. “This is particularly important because our mission is to serve the community in which we live.”

Pomona has a majority Hispanic population, and WesternU is working toward building a student population that is more representative of the population in the surrounding area.

The College of Pharmacy began its diversity initiative shortly after Dean Daniel Robinson, PharmD, arrived on campus in September 2006. Robinson and Sunil Prabhu, PhD, assistant dean for enrollment management, have evaluated the admission process and developed a diversity scholarship.

“Dr. Prabhu and I worked very closely together on our recruitment process, recognizing that a diverse student population creates an enriched educational experience for all students,” Robinson said. “We broadly define diversity in a way that allows us to focus on preparing graduates who can better meet the health care needs of society.”

The WesternU College of Pharmacy, as part of its mission, is committed to creating an academic environment that celebrates diversity and the value that multicultural perspectives add to the quality of the educational experience.

Diversity is as important in veterinary medicine as any other field, said College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Phillip Nelson, DVM, PhD. But graduate schools are dependent on undergraduate programs – if an undergraduate class is monolithic or predominately white, graduate schools will also be monolithic or white.

“If we are going improve diversity we have to improve educational attainment at the primary and secondary levels,” Nelson said. “We’ve made great strides in the last 20 years, but it’s not enough.”

WesternU is addressing this issue with the Pomona Health Career Ladder, which identifies math and science scholars in Pomona schools and guides them through an undergraduate health/science degree at Cal Poly Pomona and into health professions programs at WesternU.

“The Career Ladder is a brilliant idea,” Nelson said. “We have to become more involved as a profession and as a professional education unit in supporting primary and secondary education. It’s about closing the circle.”

For more information about the Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine, visit the Web site www.hispanicoutlook.com.