Core Director: Susan Hart-Hester, Ph.D., Professor, Family Medicine
Project Manager: Sandra Evans, Project Manager

The goals of the Health Professional Shortage Core are to increase the number of minority health care practitioners in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) and Medically Underserved Areas (MUA) within the Delta Region States of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.  

Our major objectives are: (1) to expand our existing practitioner base, (2) to implement recruitment and retention strategies to recruit minority students into the health care field, and (3) to train unemployed and dislocated members of the workforce within rural and/or urban HPSA and MUAs. The HPS Core has four partners:

American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA-Foundation) –

Ms. Michelle Dougherty, Project Director
Project Title: “Manpower Training in Electronic Health Record (EHR) Use Through Community Colleges in the Delta Region”

Objectives: (1) recognize the importance of the existing HIM discipline at the associate and baccalaureate degree levels and to build upon the unique body of knowledge related to the transition from paper to EHRs and for the electronic exchange of health information to prepare a highly skilled, specialized and marketable HIM workforce in a short period of time, (2) provide an educational pipeline to advanced degrees in Health Informatics and Information Management (HIIM) at the baccalaureate  and graduate degree levels, (3) provide customized training for E-HIM  faculty, and (4) facilitate career assistance to program graduates through the services of a Career Advisor.

Three colleges/universities (Alabama State University, Louisiana Tech University, and Tougaloo College) across the tri-state area are working with the project to develop and deliver training modules.  One training module for EHR Implementation Specialist has been developed and beta tested with additional modules for EHR Meaningful Use Specialist; EHR Workflow Design Specialist, and EHR Trainer being developed during year 03 of the grant.

 Mississippi Hospital Association – Dr. Marcella McKay, Project Director

Project Title:  “Nurse Mentorship Academy”
Objective: The objective is to increase the number of high school seniors in Mississippi who enter nursing and allied health careers.

This is a late spring, early summer program with students participating in training programs culminating in a CNA certificate.

 University of Alabama – Dr. John Wheat, Project Director

Project Title: “Minority Rural Health Pipeline Program”

Objectives: The objectives of this project are to (1) increase the number of under-represented minority (URM) students from rural and Delta Alabama counties and (2) increase the number of applications from URM students of rural and Delta Alabama counties to the Rural Medical Scholars Program and medical education programs (MEPs).

This is a summer program introducing students to the healthcare field through active participation in training curricula and field experiences.

 University of Mississippi Medical Center – Dr. Rob Rockhold, Project Director

 Project Title:  “Delta Region - Health Education Leadership Program (DR-HELP)”

Objectives: The objectives of this project are to: (1) Coordinate among and develop “best practices” promoting regional training programs to enhance preparation of students from rural and underserved populations for entry into professional health care degree programs, (2) Establish a regional network that facilitates interaction among applicants to, students presently enrolled in, and graduates of rural health care training programs in the Mississippi Delta Region, and (3) Create the expectation for, and training needed to establish, leadership skills in rural health care delivery.

The first annual DR-HELP Mini Symposium was held February 18, 2011 with presentations from organizations conducting pipeline programs across the tri-state area. Participating organizations submitted an article summarizing their programs to the journal of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences.