WASHINGTON, May 16, 2012 - Excelencia in Education today unveiled a new analysis of the top 25 institutions graduating Latinos in health professions and related programs, along with examples of promising institutional practices.  Entitled Finding Your Workforce: The Top 25 Institutions Graduating Latinos in Health Professions and Related Programs by Academic Level, this analysis is part of a project to inform recruiters and employers of institutions graduating Latinos in key sectors and encourage them to do more to engage Latinos in their workforce.

Key findings of the analysis show:

  • Latinos in the healthcare workforce are more likely to be in lower paying support occupations-such as home health aides or nursing aides-than higher paying practitioner and technical occupations-such as physicians, surgeons, or dentists.
  • In 2009-10, 70 percent of Latinos graduating in health fields and related programs earned certificates or associate degrees.
  • At the undergraduate level, the top 25 institutions at each academic level conferring certificates or degrees to Latinos in 2009-10 were located in only six states-Texas, Florida, California, Arizona, Illinois, New Mexico-and Puerto Rico.

"One-third of the projected fastest growing occupations are related to health care, and Latinos are projected to account for three quarters of the growth in America's workforce by 2020," said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education.  "Excelencia in Education is providing practical information for health care industry leaders to make the direct connection between Latino college completion and America's future workforce."

"Although over 16 percent of the population in the United States is Hispanic, the proportion of Latino doctors is less than one quarter of that, and the percentages of Hispanic nurses and dentists is lower still," said Russell Bennett, vice president of Latino Health Solutions with United Healthcare.  "Health literacy in the Hispanic population is disproportionately low, and we need more Latino health professionals in the labor force to better communicate with people who have a different cultural view of health and healthcare, and also with people of Limited English Proficiency.  This new information from Excelencia in Education will help providers find Latinos with the necessary credentials to continue building our critically important health care workforce."

"The future of our nation relies heavily on an educated workforce that can adapt to innovation in an ever-changing global marketplace," said University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa. "With changing demographics, it is incumbent upon us to educate more first time generation students, many of whom are Hispanic."

A nationally renowned pediatric surgeon and former president of the University of Texas Health Science Center, Cigarroa has unique insight into the link between education and the health care workforce.

"I am very pleased that the University of Texas is recognized as a national leader in conferring degrees to Hispanics, but there is room for improvement, particularly in the doctoral and professional degrees," said Cigarroa. "I applaud Excelencia for this report and the organization's focus on improving student success and its overall commitment to enhancing higher education in America."

The top institutions awarding certificates or degrees to Latinos in health professions or related programs for the 2009 to 2010 school year by academic level are:

  • Certificate level: Instituto de Banco y Comercio, PR
  • Associate level: Miami Dade College, FL
  • Bachelor level: Florida International University, FL
  • Master's: University of Puerto Rico-Medical Sciences, PR
  • 1st professional: Nova Southeastern University, FL
  • Doctoral: University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, NJ

"Identifying the institutions graduating the most Latinos in these health fields and critically examining effective institutional efforts to prepare, enroll, retain, and graduate Latinos in these fields can help to meet workforce needs," noted the author of the report, Deborah Santiago, Excelencia in Education's vice president for policy and research.

    Additionally, several institutions stood out as top-ranked at awarding degrees in multiple academic levels to Latinos during the 2009 to 2010 school year:

    • South Texas College, Miami Dade College, and Ponce Paramedical College were represented at both the certificate and associate levels.
    • Florida International University, University of Phoenix, University of Puerto Rico-Medical Services, Nova South Eastern University, Barry University, and the University of Turabo were represented at the bachelor level and graduate levels.
    • The University of Texas system had multiple institutions represented at the bachelor to doctoral levels, including The University of Texas at El Paso, The University of Texas, Pan American, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas Health Science Centers in San Antonio and Houston.

    "As one of the top ranked institutions in Excelencia's analysis, we feel this validates the success of our focused and intentional efforts to prepare Latinos for careers in the health professions," said Donna Ekal, associate provost of the University of Texas at El Paso  "For example, our Medical Professions Institute provides a wide range of outreach and services as early as the junior high level and has positioned UTEP as among the most successful undergraduate institutions in the United States preparing Latino applicants to U.S. medical schools. Since nearly 70 percent of our graduates choose to remain in our community, UTEP is having a significant impact on health professions in the El Paso area."

    "The Obama Administration is working with partners to better understand health workforce needs, match resources with demand, and accelerate the development of the next generation of health care providers. We have made the recruitment and retention of primary care professionals a top priority to ensure our healthcare workforce can meet the health needs of Americans," said Mayra Alvarez, director of public health policy for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Health Reform. "And, we are investing in new and meaningful opportunities for all Americans to join the health workforce in a variety of key roles."

    Finding Your Workforce is a project of Excelencia's national initiative called Ensuring America's Future by Increasing Latino College Completion. This initiative brings together federal, state, higher education philanthropic, business, Latino advocacy and community leaders to develop and use data tools and information to accelerate Latino degree attainment and overall student success in higher education. During the coming months, the Finding Your Workforce project will include briefs and fact sheets analyzing the top 25 institutions graduating Latinos in additional key sectors, such as science, technology, engineering, math, business, education, and liberal arts.

    To learn more about the project and download the full report, Finding Your Workforce: The Top 25 Institutions Graduating Latinos in Health Professions and Related Programs by Academic Level, visit www.EdExcelencia.org

    Excelencia in Education is a Washington, D.C.-based national non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate Latino student success in higher education.

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    Release Date
    Tue, 05/15/2012 - 9:00pm