Special Programs and Community:
Hispanic Center of Excellence

Promoting Academic and Medical Excellence in the Hispanic Community

Established in 1991, the Hispanic Center of Excellence (HCOE) has a primary goal of improving the health status of the Latino population by increasing the number of Latinos in the health professions and in particular medicine. During the past 13 years, there has been a continuous refinement of institutional policies and programs that have permitted the HCOE to implement initiatives aimed at enhancing academic performance; improving the recruitment and retention of faculty; and developing the capacity of the graduates to provide culturally competent healthcare services. HCOE seeks to reduce disparities in healthcare by supporting individuals committed to advance the goals of diversity in the medical profession and improve healthcare to underserved populations.

The programs of the Hispanic Center of Excellence are sponsored through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions, Division of Health Careers Diversity and Development. For more information, visit http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/diversity.

The diversity of our nation, combined with a shortage of individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds in the health professions, presents a significant challenge for medical education and academic medicine. Since 1972, NJMS has implemented programs in an effort to meet these challenges. With the support of the Hispanic Center of Excellence, NJMS seeks to fully implement a curriculum in response to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education Accreditation Standards, revised in November 2000. These standards maintain that medical school “faculty and students must demonstrate an understanding of the manner in which people of diverse cultures and belief systems perceive health and illness and respond to various symptoms, diseases, and treatments. Medical students should learn to recognize and appropriately address gender and cultural biases in health care delivery, while considering first the health of the patient.”

To ensure that all graduates master the core competencies requisite for a culturally competent provider, a comprehensive plan that involves all four years of medical education was developed. In November 2003, school-wide education goals and objectives were approved. Specifically, Goal 4 is “Commitment to the Health of the Community and Appreciation of Social and Cultural Diversity.” Students are expected to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to obtain a history and physical that accommodates a patient’s belief systems
  • Demonstrate cultural and linguistic competency
  • Demonstrate the ability to develop a treatment plan that accommodates the cultural, social and economic context of the patient

These education goals and objectives are of paramount significance, embracing the implementation of cultural competency as part of a new curriculum scheduled to be introduced in August 2004. The Hispanic Center of Excellence plays a critical role in further developing and implementing an integrated, vertical and longitudinal curriculum conceptualizing cultural competency and its impact in reducing health disparities in the United States.

Mission Statement
The mission of the Hispanic Center of Excellence is to:

  • Increase the number of Latino physicians by expanding the educational pipeline for students interested in medicine
  • Provide professional development opportunities to Latino faculty
  • Prepare medical students, faculty and residents in delivering culturally competent healthcare services to the community
  • Increase the quality and quantity of research on health issues that impact Latinos and other underserved populations in our nation


  • Foster the development and preparation of Latinos and other disadvantaged individuals for careers in medicine
  • Provide students with research opportunities on health related issue affecting Latinos and other underserved communities
  • Introduce and expose students to medical health issues afflicting disadvantaged communities
  • Develop curricular initiatives that promotes cultural competency skills of all medical students and faculty
  • Develop and increased the numbers of Latino faculty and other underrepresented groups at NJMS

Please click below to view a comprehensive list of resources on Latino Health.