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Diversity in Washington State's Health Care Workforce What are the issues in Washington State?

  • In Washington, a student of color who enters the education pipeline in kindergarten is only half as likely, compared to a Caucasian student, to emerge as a doctor, nurse, or physician assistant.
  • In 2000, people of color made up 21% of the state population, up from 11.5% in 1990. Within these rapidly expanding populations there is a disproportionate burden of disease and premature death.¹
  • The Washington State Board of Health has identified eliminating health disparities among minorities as one of its priorities.¹
  • Studies have shown that we can improve the health status of ethnic/racial minorities through 1] a health-care workforce that mirrors the diversity of the populations it serves and, 2] cultural competence.¹,²
  • Washington has a critical shortage of people of color in the health professions.¹

¹ Health Disparities ; WA State Board of Heath, (2005); ²Recent example: Cultural Competence and Health Care Disparities: Key Perspectives and Trends ; April 26, 2005.

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