HIGH POINT, N.C., Aug. 2, 2013 – Dr. Jolene Henning, chair of the Department of Athletic Training at High Point University, and Geoff Staton, assistant athletic trainer in the Department of Athletics at HPU, recently presented their work on increasing diversity in the athletic training profession at the annual meeting of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) in Las Vegas.
Henning and Staton received funding for their work in 2012 from NATA’s Ethnic Diversity Advisory Committee as part of a grant, titled “Enhancing Ethnic Diversity in Athletic Training: Development of an Athletic Training Symposium for High School Students in an Ethnically Diverse Region of North Carolina.” The grant focused on increasing ethnic diversity in the athletic training profession through an outreach program that helped expose ethnic minority high school students to career options in the health care field of athletic training.
As part of the grant, Henning and Staton held an Athletic Training Symposium in November 2012 that targeted high school students in the ethnically diverse city of High Point and in Guilford County.
“We feel that this project will have a positive impact on minority representation, as 42 percent of the high school attendees identified themselves as racial or ethnic minorities and expressed very strong interest in studying athletic training,” Henning says. “Similar to other health care professions, minorities are underrepresented in athletic training. Our goal with this project was to not only increase the number of prospective students who may choose to enroll in athletic training at HPU, but to increase the exposure of athletic training as a viable career option in health care for minority students regardless of where they choose to study.”
“Through this experience we learned that students are really seeking a connection with athletic training faculty and staff as a way to learn about the profession,” Henning says. “Our current students at HPU were also heavily involved in the symposium, and it really opened their eyes to the disparity present in the health care workforce and why increasing diversity is so important.”
Henning and Staton plan to track the students who attended the symposium to see if any ultimately choose to enroll in HPU’s Athletic Training Education Program.
Henning says the results were very well received at the NATA’s Ethnic Diversity Town Hall Meeting and have ultimately led to collaborative relationships with athletic trainers associated with the New Orleans Saints NFL team, which also shares a passion for increasing diversity in the profession.