What is CAMINO?
CAMINO is a five-year grant funded by the Department of Education. Its purpose is to provide graduate students in the College of Health and Human Development pathways to healthcare careers, with particular attention to the needs of low-income, first-generation, and Hispanic students.
CAMINO offers financial and educational opportunities to HHD graduate students in the following programs:
- Communication Disorders
- Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health Administration
- Lactation (forthcoming)
- Physical Therapy
- Public Health
Health is now the nation’s fastest growing job sector, but a lack of workforce diversity is a persistent challenge locally, regionally, and nationally. Because research shows a strong link between a diverse workforce and improved health outcomes for the population being served, CAMINO’s culturally sensitive programs and opportunities will ultimately help to address this important issue.
About 40% of CSUN HHD undergraduate students are Hispanic, which is representative of California’s Hispanic population (also about 40%). The issue is what happens once these undergraduates complete their Bachelor’s degree; few continue on to HHD post-baccalaureate programs, with only 17% of our graduate students being Hispanic. Along with other factors, disparities like this contribute to a lack of diversity in the health-related workforce once students graduate and being their careers.
Goals of CAMINO: The Next Five Years and Beyond
The primary goals of CAMINO are two-fold: to recruit and retain more underrepresented students into our graduate health programs, as well as address challenges to success for our current and future Hispanic graduate students. Ultimately, this will mean increased professional representation for our Hispanic alumni entering the health-related workforce, which is experiencing unprecedented growth locally and nationally (upwards of 20% annually). In addition to increased employment opportunities for our students, it is also important to invest in and expand our graduate programs so they reflect the future populations those students will serve in this fast-growing field.
Over the span of five years, CAMINO will increase Hispanic enrollment and graduation rates in HHD programs by: 1) expanding graduate-level curriculum and experiences to fill knowledge and skill gaps, 2) increasing faculty capacity to implement culturally appropriate advisement and instruction to Hispanic students, and 3) strengthening student support. CAMINO’s comprehensive initiatives are meant to increase our capacity to meet the specific and unique needs of our Hispanic graduate students and improve their academic attainment. In the longer term, this will increase future Hispanic participation in the allied health professions.