Background: The dearth of black and Hispanic medical professionals is due to multifaceted issues which include a frequent lack of academic preparation for doctoral degree programs, lack of concordant mentors, and limited exposure to health careers. For decades now, the percentage of people of color graduating medical school has remained relatively stagnant and not risen to match the demographic makeup of the united states. One recommended pipeline into the health sciences is targeted support services in our communities helping young people build skill sets that advance them as students and professionals.
Description: Health Science Librarians can help by teaching search strategies and how to find sources of high-quality Open Access (OA) resources to students at local health sciences high school magnet programs. Magnet programs are focused on a special area of study and structured to be balanced in ethnic and racial student population makeup. Librarians can offer to visit and leverage our skill sets to help give these students a leg up. Using the first hour of a two-hour session cover the topics of using PICOT and synonyms to build a search and then how to apply it in OA databases using relevant filters. Use the second hour to break the students into groups to build a search using worksheets and activity cards. Finally have the student groups take a few minutes to demonstrate their searches to the class in assigned databases.
Conclusion: Armed with new search strategies and aware of what to look for when searching for evidence; some students report increased measures of self-confidence in finding high quality sources of research. Assigning different databases to each student group for the final activity creates users that report being able to serve as peer mentors in helping their classmates navigate the different resources.