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Florida Alliance

Under the guidance of the Honorable Dr. Louis Sullivan, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, a working meeting was held June 18-19, 2007 in Tallahassee to explore the development of the Florida Alliance for Health Professions Diversity (FAHPD). Over 100 people, including representatives from 13 higher education institutions and several stakeholder organizations, attended the conference. FAHPD was officially organized in August 2007.

The FAHPD’s mission is to increase the diversity of health professionals and researchers, reduce racial and ethnic health disparities, and promote access to quality health care for all Floridians. The FAHPD fulfills this mission by:

  • Providing collaborative opportunities and creating innovative higher education partnerships among research universities, minority-serving universities and colleges, community colleges, health-related corporations, and medical specialty organizations;
  • Promoting an accepting culture of change and a climate to encourage research and clinical opportunities for underrepresented minority students and faculty; and
  • Promoting health and prevention of disease for underrepresented minorities and other underserved populations

Florida Alliance for Health Professions Diversity (FAHPD) Board Meeting,
April 5, 2013 in conjunction with Student Symposium on Health Professions held on April 6, 2013
Florida Alliance for Health Professions Diversity (FAHPD) Board Meeting

Front Row (left to right): Dr. Sullivan and Dr. Rebecca Pauly (UF), FAHPD Chairperson
Back (left to right): Brandon Green (FSU), Florida Alliance Scholar; Penny Ralston (FSU), Chair, Program Committee;
Lisa Barkley (UCF), Planning Committee Chair for 2013 Student Symposium; Mary Jo Koroly (UF);
Alma Littles, Treasurer; and Terone Green, Virginia Alliance.
Not pictured: Dr. Ivette Lopez (FAMU)

Recent Accomplishments

  • Florida Alliance Scholars. The Florida Alliance Scholars program provides students from high school through graduate school with immersive experiences in research. In total, 32 students have serving as Florida Alliance Scholars. Of that 11 are still pursuing high school or college degreees (7 and 4 respectively) 16 have completed degrees (8 bachelor's, 8 master's), five are enrolled in Ph.D., M.D. or DDS programs, and five are employed. 
  • Student Symposium on Health Professions. The program targets undergraduate students interested in health-related careers—exploring research and clinical opportunities and strengthening their applications for professional and/or graduate school. Over 450 students have attended symposia held at FAMU, FSU and UF in the past three years.
  • Physician Workforce Advisory Council. FAHPD secured a position on the Physician Workforce Advisory Council, with a representative confirmed by the state Surgeon General.
  • Anti-Tobacco Initiative Scholars. As a partnership with FAHPD, the FSU College of Medicine and the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC), Anti-Tobacco Initiative Scholars was established to provide students the opportunity to gain leadership skills and to access volunteer opportunities through providing anti-tobacco presentations to middle school students.
  • Articulation Agreement in Nursing. An articulation agreement in nursing between Florida Memorial University and Florida International University was established with a signing ceremony and reception that was held at the Minority Health Summit in Tampa in 2008. As of July 2011, four students have been admitted to FIU’s BSN program who completed their first three years at FMU in the 3+2 BS Biology- BS Nursing program.
  • Florida State University College of Medicine established Science Students Together Reaching Instructional Diversity & Excellence (SSTRIDE) to improve the pipeline of qualified minority applicants from culturally diverse backgrounds for medical and related sciences. SSTRIDE provides continuing academic support and assistance to students in grades 7 through college.
  • University of Florida – P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School. Pipeline programs such as the Summer Health Science Camp and the PKY Health Sciences Club have been created to benefit middle school students through experiences with various hands-on demonstrations of career opportunities, such as personal health activities that include yoga and nutrition; hands-on experiences with patient simulators; programs with Arts in Medicine; and field trips to the helipad, Santa Fe College and the sleep lab. Students are provided information on career paths in health and allied health professions at the six Health Science Center colleges at the University of Florida.
  • University of Florida, Shands HealthCare and Santa Fe College Collaboration. Florida Alliance for Health Professions Diversity Commitment Signing Ceremony – Gainesville area – President Bernie Machen, University of Florida; President Jackson Sasser, Santa Fe College; and Timothy Goldfarb, CEO of Shands HealthCare, declared their partnership to increase the number of minority health professionals and reduce disparities in access to quality health care for Floridians.
  • University of Florida Diversity Dialogue Series. Under the leadership of the Associate Vice President for Health Affairs, Equity and Diversity, the University of Florida has developed the Diversity Dialogue series, which hosts state and national leaders to build awareness and promote discussion and action on important issues of equity and diversity.
  • Outreach. Outreach efforts developing relationships and strengthening collaborations to involve additional institutions. For example, Edward Waters College hosted a meeting to discuss how higher education institutions in Jacksonville, Florida might collaborate to strengthen training for students from diverse experiences and background entering health-related careers. FAMU, FSU and UF spearheaded a National Institutes of Health Centers of Excellence grant that involved 10 institutions in Florida as collaborators.
  • Information Dissemination. We have disseminated information about workforce issues in Florida through the report Documenting Disparities in Florida’s Health Care Education Pipeline and Workforce (MGT of America, 2007), and through presentations made at the Association of American Medical Colleges, the North Carolina Health Professions Diversity Conference, The Sullivan Alliance annual meeting and the Florida Minority Health Summit.
  • FAHPD has played a key role in addressing workforce issues in Florida. With the establishment of the Florida Health Equity Institute (HERI), FAHPD will be a key partner in operating the HERI Education and Training Core by expanding its two signature program: Student Symposium on Health Professions and the Florida Alliance Scholars. 
  • Over 750 students have attended symposia held throughout the state in teh past five years. With HERI funds, multiple symposia will be implemented annually and students in underserved areas for FAHPD programming such as South Florida will be able to participate. 
  • In Florida's New Effort to Implement Research Agenda Strengthens Work of Florida Alliance, Dr. Penny Ralston explores health disparities and the development of FAHPD. 

Institutions and organizations currently affiliated with FAHPD include:


Bethune-Cookman University
Edward Waters College

Florida A&M University

Florida International University

Florida Memorial University

Florida State University

Santa Fe College

University of Florida

University of Miami

University of North Florida

University of South Florida

Stakeholder Organizations

Access Health Solutions
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida

Florida Area Health Education Centers

Florida Department of Health, Office of Minority Health

Florida Department of Health, Public Health Research

Florida Medical Association

Shands HealthCare

Additional information about The Florida Alliance can be accessed from the FAHPD website, which is maintained by the University of South Florida College of Nursing, or by contacting Dr. Cynthia Harris at, 850-599-8655, Director of the Institute of Public Health.