Purpose: A worsening adolescent health disparity issue in the United States is the significant underrepresentation of ethnic minority youth in higher medical education. The Teen Medical Academy (TMA) was developed to increase the number and quality of underrepresented ethnic minority applicants from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. In this study we examine whether participation in the TMA is associated with greater interest, confidence, belongingness, and achievement motivation as related to health careers. Methods: Self-administered surveys were mailed to all of the 361 youth who had applied to the first 3 years of the TMA. One-way analysis of variance and multivariate backward stepwise linear regression models were used to examine program effects on attitudes. Results: Among our sample of economically disadvantaged ethnic minority students (N = 232), greater participation in the TMA independently and significantly predicted the following: greater interest in medical and allied health careers; confidence in the ability to achieve a health career, to learn surgical skills, and to learn other health career-related technical skills; sense of belongingness in a health career and among doctors; and commitment to achieve a health career and meaningful work. Higher grade point average and greater involvement in extracurricular health career programs was also positively associated, whereas increasing age was negatively associated with the outcome variables. Conclusions: The TMA offers a successful model of collaboration between economically disadvantaged ethnic minority communities and academic institutions of higher medical education. The TMA can be easily replicated by family medicine, pediatric, and internal medicine residency programs throughout the U.S.
- Health occupations
- Healthcare workforce
- Minority groups
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health