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U.S. Senate Proposed Elimination of the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) SNMA President's Statement

Posted By Administration, Friday, November 8, 2019
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Omonivie H. Agboghidi

SNMA National President

 

U.S. Senate Proposed Elimination of the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP)

SNMA President's Statement



November 8, 2019



Dear SNMA family and friends,

Our mission is simple. The Student National Medical Association (SNMA) is committed to supporting current and future underrepresented minority medical students, addressing the needs of underserved communities, and increasing the number of clinically excellent, culturally competent and socially conscious physicians. The Senate Appropriations Committee has drafted legislation that proposes funding cuts to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Title VII and Title VIII programming. These funding cuts directly jeopardize our mission, strip underserved communities of resources, and most importantly disrupt vital pipeline efforts necessary to develop needed minority health professionals.

The Student National Medical Association stands in strong opposition to any funding cuts that jeopardize HRSA Title VII and VIII health professions diversity and workforce development programs.

The Senate has proposed the elimination of Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP), a federally funded program that has been around since 1972. This pipeline program focuses on developing underserved and minority students to enter various health fields such as nursing, medicine, dental medicine and other various allied health fields. Most importantly, this program seeks to increase proportionately the representation of minority and disadvantaged populations in these professions. HCOP focuses on three key milestones of education: high school completion; acceptance, retention and graduation from college; and acceptance, retention and completion of a health professions program. HCOP programs can be found all over the United States from HBCU institutions like Morehouse College to PWI institutions such as the University of Connecticut (UCONN) And my own Alma Mater, the University of California, Berkeley. To many students, these programs provide them with the only opportunity of exposure to the health profession field. Like many devastated students nationwide, I am a graduate of the HCOP program and can attest to the many benefits that the HCOP program offers. I know for a fact that without HCOP I wouldn’t have had the professional development to create a half a million dollar chronic disease management program immediately after graduating from college, the preparation to apply to medical school, the support to pursue a Master’s degree in Public Health and ultimately the mentorship that helped develop me into a student leader willing and competent to serve as your National President!

On November 21, 2019 funding for HCOP will run out and without Title VII and Title VIII these programs will end. You can learn more about the legislation and how it is moving through the legislature here.

Protect this funding. Denounce all funding cuts. Make your voice heard. Sign the AAMC petition. The proposed legislation cuts funding for a variety of health sector agencies and departments and most importantly threatens grants and scholarship programs directly focused on filling gaps in our healthcare workforce.

Sincerely,



Omonivie H. Agboghidi

SNMA National President

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