The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Colleges of Dentistry and Medicine, and the UIC School of Public Health, are collaborating to implement the Illinois Health Professions Navigator Program. The program was recently awarded a three-year grant from the Federal Health Services Resources Administration (HRSA) for $650,000 per year for a total of $1.9 million.
Dr. Darryl Pendleton, Associate Dean for Student and Diversity Affairs at the College of Dentistry, is a Co-Principal Investigator and the College of Dentistry Director for the program.
“The purpose of the Navigator Program is twofold: to increase the underrepresented minority student enrollment and retention in the UIC health sciences colleges by increasing the number of competitive applicants, and to strengthen UIC’s relationships with local and regional partners to provide clinical and research experience for high school, college, and professional students,” Dr. Pendleton said.
“The funding will allow the College to expand our existing underrepresented minority, low income, and disadvantaged student recruitment and enrollment efforts,” he continued. “In essence, the Navigator Program will help identify and address barriers that students face in their educational journey from high school to a health science career.”
Dr. Pendleton noted that, “At the College, our efforts to recruit and enroll underrepresented minorities are impacted not only by the challenges students face, but also due to the high cost of dental education and our small class size that makes every seat more competitive. Our campaigns to provide more student scholarships and increasing the DMD class size will help.”
The HRSA recognizes that certain minority populations are underrepresented in dentistry and in dental schools. It also recognizes that UIC is a leader in training underrepresented minorities in the health professions.
“We are excited that they have agreed to fund the Navigator Program,” Dr. Pendleton concluded. “It is our goal that in three to four years, we hope to see program outcomes that result in more underrepresented students applying and enrolling in our College.”
For more information regarding the program, contact Dr. Pendleton at firstname.lastname@example.org.