Separate & Unequal Public Colleges
America’s selective public colleges should be among the great equalizers in U.S. society. Funded primarily by taxpayers and carrying a relatively low price tag, these colleges are meant to be engines of opportunity for all. In reality, however, the doors of these institutions are open wider to White students than to their Black and Latino peers, according to a report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. Whites have almost two-thirds (64%) of the seats in selective public colleges even though they make up barely half (54%) of the nation’s college-age population. Blacks and Latinos are making unprecedented gains in college-going, but the vast majority of Black and Latino students enroll in overcrowded and underfunded open-access colleges, primarily community colleges. Consequently, fewer Black and Latino students receive a bachelor’s degree. Selective public colleges reflect the Latino college-age population (18-to-24-year-olds) in just one state: Florida. Meanwhile, other states are far from parity. In California, 48% of the college-age population is Latino, but only 25% of students in selective public colleges are Latino. Blacks are not proportionately represented in selective public colleges in any state. Certain states are egregiously unbalanced, e.g., in Alabama, 32 of every 100 college-age residents are Black, but only seven of every 100 students at the state’s selective public colleges are Black. The report can be obtained here.

Access To High School Courses That Help Prepare Students For College
Students in relatively poor and small schools had less access to high school courses that help prepare them for college, according to an analysis of Department of Education data for school year 2015-16 (the most recent available) by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). While most public high schools, regardless of poverty level, offered courses like algebra and biology, disparities in access were associated with school poverty level for more advanced courses like calculus, physics, and those that may allow students to earn college credit, like Advanced Placement (AP) courses. High-poverty schools were less likely to offer the math and science courses that most public 4-year colleges expect students to take in high school, according to GAO's analysis of college websites. Regression analysis also showed that smaller schools and certain types of schools, like charter schools, are less likely to offer the college preparatory math or science courses that many colleges look for during the admissions process. The report can be obtained here.

Understanding Disparities In Access To Genomic Medicine
Genomic medicine has the potential to improve the quality of health and health care by allowing clinicians to tailor prevention and treatment strategies individually to their patients. Recent research breakthroughs, technological advances, and the decreasing cost of DNA sequencing have led to wider adoption of genomic medicine in health systems. It is not clear, however, if genetic/genomic services will reach all communities within the population both now and in the near future because of a significant gap in knowledge regarding potential health care disparities in genomic medicine and precision health. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine hosted a public workshop on June 27, 2018 that explored disparities in access that exist across different communities (e.g., in medically underserved areas and populations, across different racial/ethnic groups, and socioeconomic levels). Discussions included exploring barriers to accessing genomic/genetic services, the role of health systems in delivering equitable access, and innovative solutions and models of success in reducing health care disparities related to genomic medicine. Workshop proceedings can be obtained here.

More Articles from TRENDS November 2018


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ASAHP President Susan Hanrahan describes recent activities that include upgrades to the Association’s website and the work of the ASAHP International Task Force. Read More



The recent mid-term election in November 2018 produced results that suggest health policy initiatives that will be pursued at both federal and state levels. Read More



Medicare Advantage will expand to address social determinants of health while developments in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and telehealth will influence the delivery of health care services. Read More



This section of TRENDS has a focus on proposed regulations involving Title IX campus sexual assault, a bill that would allow the Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service to share student data, and reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Read More


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Among other activities, members of an interprofessional student club brought to campus members of a recruitment staff to assist in honing interviewing skills and resumés. Read More



Survey results furnish a deeper understanding of consumers’ decision-making processes in ways that can equip health care providers to retain and engage them effectively as well as attract new ones. Read More