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Health Equity Leadership Initiative

Published on Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Published on August 19, 2015
Supporting underrepresented males in health care
Research demonstrates males of color are significantly underrepresented in most health professional programs.

The purpose of this project is to support underrepresented males ages 17-25, helping them to become leaders in the health-care workforce while increasing access to health professional education, training and career options.

Hosted by UMMC with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the program reinforces the institution's commitment to promote racial healing, eradicate health disparities and improve health equity for Mississippians and citizens of our nation.

Underrepresented males enrolled in two-year community colleges in Mississippi are invited to apply and participate in HELI. The program director is Dr. Juanyce Taylor, assistant dean of research and innovation and chair, Department of Health Sciences.

In their own words . . . Participants laud HELI
"(The program) has given me the background of what I want to do and the expectations of what I need to do, as far as grades and requirements, to join a program in the School of Health Related Professions. It actually encourages me to keep doing what I want to do in the dental field. It makes me want to work even harder."
— Andre Funches Jr., a biology pre-dental major at Meridian Community College

"I found myself more interested in the patients than in the job I was doing at that time. The program has given me insight into the steps I need to take to become a student here and insight into how to make it as a student here."
— Joseph Robinson, a pre-nursing major at Hinds Community College-Jackson Campus

About the program
For more information about HELI, visit and select "Health Equity and Leadership Initiative."