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Health Care Disparities, Diversity and Advocacy

This program is approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, however, the program is pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Currently no applications are being accepted for this program.

The purpose of the program is to provide the student with specific knowledge and skills related to global health care disparities, diversity and cultural competence in the health care setting and advocating patient centered care. This degree presents the student with unique opportunities to blend the practices of health care disparities, diversity and patient advocacy.

The program will provide a degree to Health Care Disparities, Diversity and Advocacy majors and can be a degree completion program for students who have academic and/or professional experience in a health care related field. The degree is offered in a non-traditional format utilizing hybrid/blended learning. Students may enroll full-time or part-time to accommodate employment obligations.

Graduates can use this education to develop professional growth in their clinical expertise or seek employment in health care disparities, diversity or patient advocacy.

Degree Offered

Bachelor of Science in Health Care Disparities, Diversity and Advocacy.

The Program is Administered by

Dean: Shirley Richmond, Ed.D.

Program Director: Peter Hu, Ph.D.

Education Coordinator: Shaun T. Caldwell, M.S.

Medical Advisors: Harry R. Gibbs, M.D., Chris Hernandez, M.B.A., and Levell Jones, Ph.D.

The Program in Health Care Disparities, Diversity, and Advocacy


The mission of the Health Care Disparities, Diversity and Advocacy program is to provide the highest quality of education to students through formal didactic and practical experiences in the practice of health care disparities, diversity and patient advocacy.


We shall be the premier provider of education in health care disparities, diversity and patient advocacy based on best practices and research in these professions.


Goal: Our students will concentrate on health disparities.
Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. The student will demonstrate awareness of factors contributing to disparities in health care among certain populations.
  2. The student will identify resources available for reducing health disparities.
  3. The student will demonstrate health professionals role in eliminating health disparities.

Goal: Our students will be culturally competent
Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. The student will demonstrate cultural sensitivity.
  2. The student will analyze barriers to the delivery of health care in selected populations.
  3. The student will apply solutions to selected concerns in populations studied.

Goal: Our students will be patient advocates.
Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. The student will demonstrate communication techniques in difficult environments.
  2. The student will evaluate risks in health care institution- patient relationship.
  3. The student will identify federal, state and local regulations related to patient advocacy

Selection Process

Admission is dependent on factors that include:

  • Cumulative GPA, and pre-requisite GPA.
  • Personal qualities such as maturity and professional goals as expressed in the interview and described in reference letters.
  • Ability to meet the SHP non-academic technical standards.
  • Race, religion, national origin, veteran status, gender, or disability are not factors considered in the selection process

Applicants should begin the application process three to six months prior to the application deadline to ensure all documents are received and processed by The Unviersity of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Registrar's office.

Nonacademic Requirements

For a description of the non-academic technical standards requirements for admission, visit the admission section of the Student Catalog's Policies and Procedures.

Program Admission Requirements

All prerequisite course work must be from a regionally accredited college or university.

The applicant must have satisfactorily completed all prerequisite courses listed prior to graduating. These courses must be lecture and laboratory courses acceptable toward a degree by majors in those fields and cannot be survey courses.

Students entering the program must have earned a minimum of 42 SCH of Texas General Education Core Curriculum.

Candidates who completed the prerequisite courses seven or more years before admission may need to update their academic skills. For specific information, contact the program director.

Minimum overall grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.

Texas Success Initiative (TSI): All applicants must provide proof of successful assessment of the Texas Success Initiative (TSI). Applicants who have graduated with an associate or baccalaureate degree from an accredited Texas College or University are exempt from TSI. Proof of an applicant's readiness to enroll in college level coursework will be determined by the Registrar's Office based upon review of official transcripts from previously attended institutions.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): Applicants from countries where English is not the native language may be required to take the TOEFL. Internet based TOEFL is now available and a total test score ranging from 74-78 with a minimum score of 18 in each section is required.


Students entering the program must have earned a minimum of 42 SCH of Texas General Education Core Curriculum.

In addition, applicants must have completed a minimum of 34 SCH of acceptable transferrable credit of elective courses or complete an additional 34 SCH of elective curriculum at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center School of Health Professions.

Applicants who hold nationally recognized certification in a health profession and are graduates of an accredited program may be awarded a maximum of 36 SCH as elective course work. Credit hours given will be evaluated and determined using set criteria developed by the program's admissions committee.

An applicant who has earned a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university may be awarded a second such degree by meeting the following requirements:

  1. Accepted to the School of Health Professions.
  2. Fulfilled all General Education Core curriculum requirements.
  3. Completed a minimum of 44 hours of the required curriculum.
  4. Provided supporting documents to the Office of the Registrar.

Texas Core Curriculum information is found on the SHP Prerequisite page.

Advanced Placement

The School of Health Professions accepts and/or awards credit through the following examination programs:

  • College level examination program of the College Board.
  • Comprehensive departmental examinations.
  • Regionally accredited military training programs.

Recommendations from the School's academic departments are followed with regard to minimum score requirements, level of credit and amount of credit to be awarded. Program faculty are consulted to determine if credit recommendations equate to specific School of Health Professions (SHP) courses. The internal comprehensive departmental examination program provides a local means for establishing knowledge of SHS course content in areas not covered by the above examination program. Programs may elect to administer examinations that cover material specific to SHS courses with the results being reported to the Registrar.


Each candidate for a baccalaureate degree must complete a minimum of 120 SCH of course work. Within this requirement, students must complete the following at MD Anderson:

  • At least 40 SCH of advanced (3000/4000) course work.
  • At least 25% of the total SCH required must be taken at MD Anderson.

Upon completion of formal didactic curriculum, students will have demonstrated the professional skills necessary to function as an effective agent in health care disparities, diversity, and patient advocacy.

Graduation occurs in August. Prior to graduation, students must successfully complete a final competency examination with a score of 75% or greater.

Course Listings

Required Courses44 SCH
DI 4300 Research Techniques in Radiologic Science3
DI 4301 Research Project3
HS 3270 Critical Thinking in Health Care2
HS 3370 Fundamentals of Writing3
HS 4100 Issues in Health Care Ethics1
HS 4101 Diversity and Cultural Competence1
HS 4111 Medical Law1
HS 4311 Health Professions Leadership3
HS 4312 Global Health Practice3
HS 4313 Disparities in Health Care3
HS 4321 Accommodating Differences in the Health Care Setting3
HS 4322 Mentoring Across Difference3
HS 4323 Spiritual Health Beliefs3
HS 4331 Patient Advocacy3
HS 4332 Healthcare Policy and Practice3
HS 4342 Professional Internship3
HS 4346 Independent Projects3
Elective Courses
Students who choose to complete elective courses at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center may choose from the course offering below.
DI 3345 Directed Readings1-3
DI 3346 Professional Development (repeatable)1-3
DI 4310 Teaching Strategies in Health Care Education3
DI 4311 Instructional Design3
DI 4312 Patient Education3
DI 4322 Effective Human Resources Management3
DI 4323 Management Skills for New Supervisor3
HS 3320 Medical Genetics3
HS 3333 Statistics3
HS 3340 Research Methods3
HS 3347 Current Issues in Health Care3
HS 4371 Management and Education3

Course Descriptions

DI 3345 Directed Readings (1-3 SCH)
Directed reading and research, followed by the writing of a report or the creation of a project. Credit hours are based on size, length and depth of paper or project.

DI 3346 Professional Development (Conferences, Workshops, Lectures, Competitions) - Repeatable (1-3 SCH)
Attendance of educational sessions at district, state, regional or national conferences. Consent of instructor required. 12 documented contact hours per each (32 CE) credit for maximum of 3 credits.

DI 4300 Research Techniques in Radiologic Science (3 SCH)
This course will teach the student the principles and methods of conducting practical research in health care.

DI 4301 Research Project (3 SCH)
This course will prepare the student to complete a research project.

DI 4310 Teaching Strategies in Health Care Education (3 SCH)
This course will teach the student how to analyze learning theories with emphasis on adult learners and the elements of quality education.

DI 4311 Instructional Design (3 SCH)
This course will instruct the student in the theory and application of instructional design in health care education and training.

DI 4312 Patient Education (3 SCH)
This course will teach the student how to plan, develop and assess patient education products and methods.

DI 4322 Effective Human Resources Management (3 SCH)
This course will teach the student about staff recruitment, retention techniques, and laws related to resource management. Topics include hiring and terminating practices, harassment and discrimination.

DI 4323 Management Skills for the New Supervisor (3 SCH)
This course will teach the student about the transitioning from a Professional Employee to a Supervisor.

HS 3270 Critical Thinking in Health Professions (2 SCH)
This course is designed to provide health profession students with resources for improving critical thinking skills. The course will introduce basic concepts of critical thinking through integration into interactive case studies, problem based scenarios, and project design assignments. The specific objectives of this course coincide with The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center School of Health Profession definition of critical thinking.

HS 3320 Medical Genetics (3 SCH)
This course is a study of the role of genetics in medicine including: Mendelian genetics, multifactorial inheritance, DNA structure, chromosome structure, population genetics, mutation rates, ethnicity of disease and genetic mapping. A comprehensive review of the cell cycle, mitosis, and meiosis and pedigree analysis is incorporated as well.

HS 3333 Statistics (3 SCH)
This course provides an introduction to statistical techniques. Emphasis will be placed on probability and probability distributions, sampling and descriptive measures, inference and hypothesis testing, linear regression, and analysis of variance.

HS 3340 Research Methods (3 SCH)
This research methods course will introduce the basic language and concepts of empirical research with emphasis on the applicability of research methodology in the area of clinical laboratory sciences. Students will have the opportunity to learn how to search the peer-reviewed journal databases available to them through the Research Library. They will then critique and review their references, learn how to make an outline, and write a literature review on their assigned topic. Curriculum will include a blend of lectures, group work, presentations by guest researchers and development of a group research poster.
(Admission to Program)

HS 3347 Current Issues in Health Care (3 SCH)
Current issues and trends in the health care industry and environment affecting health care communities.

HS 3370 Fundamentals of Writing (3 SCH)
This basic writing course is designed to teach students to write clear, well-organized, and mechanically acceptable prose. Students will be introduced to the processes of composing thesis statements, crafting arguments, revision process, citing, and documenting sources in accordance with APA style. In addition, this course will provide an understanding and aid in the development of critical thinking skills in preparation for more advanced course work in the Diagnostic Imaging Program. The course stresses both reading and writing skills. Activities will include exercises designed to reinforce correct grammar, and avoid common sentence structure errors. Skills gained in this course should help students improve their ability to write logically developed short-essay tests and brief, formal summaries and reports. This course is guided by the specific objectives of the The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center School Of Health Professions' Quality Enhancement Plan.

HS 4100 Issues in Health Care Ethics (1 SCH)
This course content is designed to establish a foundation and set parameters of professional practice for health care professionals. The emphasis will be on developing the background for the resolution of ethical dilemmas through ethical reasoning, ethical obligations in health professional-patient relationships and just allocation of scarce health care resources.

HS 4101 Diversity and Cultural Competency (1 SCH)
This course is designed to provide each student with a fundamental understanding of the concepts of cultural competency, diversity, and inclusion. The course content of each module emphasizes the following seven culturally competent areas of diversity: Building Relationships across Culture; Communication Across Differences; Conflict resolution Across Cultures; Microinequities within the Workplace;. Diversity and Inclusion; Abilities: A Journey from Exclusion to Inclusion; Spirituality and health care practices.

HS 4111 Medical Law (1 SCH)
This course introduces the student to medical law and case studies in medical imaging and radiation therapy.

HS 4311 Health Professions Leadership (3 SCH)
This course presents effective strategies in management and leadership across cultural differences within a care centric work environment to create trust, respect, and inclusiveness within healthcare teams.

HS 4312 Global Health Practice (3 SCH)
This course introduces the student to the socio-cultural, political and economic determinants of health and health status at a global level; understands the impact of cultural, ethical, lifestyle, social, and economic causational factors that influence cancer prevention, research, treatment, and post care.

HS 4313 Disparities in Health Care (3 SCH)
This course introduces research and education which address the determinants of disparities as well as interventions and policies designed to eliminate disparities within cancer care and treatment.

HS 4321 Accommodating Differences in the Health Care Setting (3 SCH)
This course explores how the following cultural influences of Mental and Physical Abilities, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity impact patient care.

HS 4322 Mentoring Across Difference (3 SCH)
This course provides the skills to build successful mentoring relationships across cultural differences.

HS 4323 Spiritual Health Beliefs (3 SCH)
This course offers healthcare professionals an awareness of spiritual and religious beliefs and practices so that they will be better informed in providing effective care to patients.

HS 4331 Patient Advocacy (3 SCH)
This course encourages the student to critically think about hospital process and to assist patients by providing education and advice regarding patient rights and intervenes as a patient representative when necessary.

HS 4332 Healthcare Policy & Practice (3 SCH)
This course provides an understanding of the critical role of systematic evaluation in assessing the effectiveness of health services programs and policies.

HS 4342 Professional Internship (3 SCH)
In this course the student applies skills as well as concepts in the area of health care disparities, or health care diversity or patient advocacy.

HS 4346 Independent Projects (3 SCH)
This course is designed for individual projects, research, special seminars, or further investigation of emerging technology or profession specific issues. SCH are assigned in relationship to the complexity of the individual student's goals.

HS 4371 Management and Education (3 SCH)
This course covers laboratory management and educational methodologies. It includes management and motivational theories, communication skills, regulatory and accreditation requirements, budget and strategic planning, curriculum design and examination instruction. Course delivery is on-line, interactive, self-paced.

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