Breathe Easy, You've Found Me ((HUGS))

People will wonder why this blog is needed, why minority midwifery student? It's very simple actually; I was looking for this blog...but I couldn't find I created it. We all have unique experiences, and every experience, every story, can help someone else. I am a black girl from the hood at an ivy league professional school. That, alone, is reason enough to write. Somebody was looking for this blog. Someone wanted proof that what I'm doing can be done - even when you come from where we come from.

To that person especially, WELCOME.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Back in February I posted the following two posts...the comments basically fell along the lines of "we don't should read the history of the program, etc..."

What Makes the NHSC Application Culturally Biased?

This was the question posed by an anonymous poster in the comments section of the related post. I will try to explain it here...

So. The point of the NHSC is to get med/pa/cnm/fnp students to work in economically depressed areas (which they call Health Professional Shortage Areas or HPSAs) which are in critical need of providers. The vast majority of professional students are middle to upper class non-minorities that do not come from these areas. Keeping that in mind, let's break down a question that is on this year's application/personality assessment:

Choose A or B:

A. "I would like to work in a community where the people and activities are different than those I grew up with."

B. "I would like to work in a community where the people and activities are the same as those I grew up with."

When advised about how to fill out this application (by people who were successfully awarded the scholarship) I was told "the answers they want to hear are obvious." I believe the answers are obvious to the majority of people filling out this questionnaire because the majority of people filling it out (students in professional schools) are NOT from HPSAs and they are supposed to be answering questions in a way that indicates that they are committed to working in these HPSAs...and therefore the "obvious" answer is "A" because if you want to work in the kind of community you (being the med student who's filling it out) grew up in, chances are that community doesn't qualify as an HPSA. Get it?

So, what happens if you happen to be one of the very, very few people who actually grew up in an HPSA? Technically, you should be circling "B" because the area you want to serve is actually the same kind of area you grew up in...but I don't think scantron-style reading of these bubble assessments will be taking that into consideration, which makes me wonder if someone in this situation shouldn't be answering as the typical professional school student, or themselves...and *this* is why I feel the assessment is culturally biased.

But anyway, I will tell you that I have already resolved all of this in my mind and am no longer really thinking about it. I am just going to fill out the form truthfully, and let the universe handle the rest.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

NHSC is Not Doing Interviews for 2007

The National Health Service Corps is not conducting interviews for its 2007-2008 scholarship just never ends with this program.

Let me start from the beginning. When I was applying to grad school, I found out that there really isn't any good financial aid for programs like mine (direct-entry/grad-entry programs in nursing, also called bridge programs) nor for graduate professional school in general. Everyone speaks of one or two programs when considering aid: the National Health Service Corp Scholarship & Loan Repayment Program, and the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students Program. (The Nursing Scholarship Program is mostly for undergrads)

NHSC does not accept students in bridge programs, so we apply after the first year when, technically, we are no longer in a bridge program. You can see a snipet of the history of NHSC here, pay specific attention to the "NHSC milestones." Over the years, the program has been reducing its scholarship offerings in favor of the loan repayment program, which costs them less to provide, and in the '80's there was a severe decline in aid because the country expected a physician surplus. At this point, the program is almost all loan repayment, and I predict that in the next few years the scholarship will no longer be offered. I believe this will directly impact the number of minority physicians and APRNs because I have read articles stating that at times the number of minority students in this program exceeds 50% of the total of participants. (I will try to find a public link to one of these articles or at least tell you the name of it so you can look it up!)

The problem this year is that they all of a sudden decided not to conduct interviews for this program! Instead, they will select awardees based solely on their application that has no essay, no place to indicate involvement in the community or any other volunteer experiences, no way to indicate who you are! How do you select people like this? The application is basically a personality assessment...and it happens to be culturally biased. I think the interviews were crucial to the selection process, and that in the absence of these interviews the demographics of their awardees will change significantly...that is unless they use the demographic section of the application to select a specific percentage of minority and non-minority that still legal?

Anyway, all of this is just to say my number one plan for funding the next two years of school looks like it just fell through. I'm still applying, but interviews are a strength of mine, and with only the application it doesn't look good. The positive is that I can just stay and go straight to the doctoral program (maybe part time, I'm tired of school).

Oh! And the problem with the Schlarships for Disadvantaged Students Program is that none of the schools I applied to participate. You must apply through the financial aid office of your school. When I asked about this, they said that they don't meet the requirements for the program - mainly, they don't have enough minority students enrolled to qualify for the program, which seems backwards to me...

*************************************NEWS ALERT

The have changed the application yet again to include 5 mandatory essay questions...questions they used to ask in the interviews.

I ain' crazy...I bet that last batch of acceptances were not as diverse as the

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