According to the 2010 Census Report, by the year 2050, the majority of the United States population will be those of non-white descent. This will be the result of the growing minority population who already reside within the United States and the continued high level of immigration from persons of Non-European countries. As the nation’s population grows more diverse, we will need a workforce that reflects this diversity. Nonetheless, there are significant challenges to achieving this goal, and trend data reveal that progress towards greater diversity in most of the health professions is low.
Numerous institutions have taken on this challenge head-on through the development and implementation of diversity and inclusion related programs. Despite a paucity of high quality research on the effectiveness of these programs, available data suggest that they are successful in enhancing diversity in health professions schools. At New Jersey Medical School, a cultural competency program has been established to prepare physicians, residents, and medical students to properly serve the increasingly diverse community.
Cultural competence is a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together as a system to work effectively to better serve the populous. Separate cultural competency initiatives have been developed so that faculty, residents, and students of New Jersey Medical School can value diversity and properly incorporate this system into their everyday lives, assuring health equity and reducing health disparities.