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The AcademyHealth/
Aetna Foundation Minority Scholars Program

The challenge

A major challenge for reducing health inequities has been to clarify root causes, which can produce more effective responses. Health Services Research (HSR) professionals strive to uncover these root causes, and how they affect health care access, quality and costs. Unfortunately, many ethnic and racial groups remain underrepresented in this research field.

The vision

Since its formation in 2000, AcademyHealth has been supporting health services research and informing health policy. By increasing diversity in the health research field, the organization aims to help America achieve a richer understanding of health and health care issues.

The approach

The Aetna Foundation has formed a partnership with AcademyHealth to support health services research and help young investigators from under-represented minority groups. Partnership programs include:

Minority Scholars Program – Underwrites the costs of scholars attending AcademyHealth's annual research meeting, along with adjunct meetings and mentoring activities. The goal is to advance researchers’ professional development and understanding of disparities in care.

Scholars in Residence Fellowship Program – This program provides professional training and networking activities for junior and mid-career level academics and clinical practitioners. Fellows are conducting disparities research with a focus on population health.

The results

These programs are helping participants develop professionally as they pursue avenues of health services research that can reduce health care disparities. Many of these scholars have witnessed the effects of disparities – in their families and communities – and have a deep sense of where to look for effective solutions. 

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