Saliha Chaudhry and Kevan O'Hanlon

Building a Health Professions Career Pipeline with UMN Morris Challenge

Isabel Margerie

Saliha Chaudhry, BA, Medical School, and Kevan O’Hanlon, BA, School of Public Health have been working with the Morris Challenge and community partners to address health care workforce shortages in rural Minnesota. The Morris Challenge is an opportunity through the University of Minnesota Morris that prepares high school students in rural areas to implement sustainable solutions to address challenges in the community. The team has been creating virtual resources aimed at connecting high school students with health care workers, health professional students, educators, and others who want to offer guidance, mentorship, and stories to prospective future health care professionals. To determine the effectiveness of their work, the team created student surveys in collaboration with the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities, UMN Morris, and the community. 

The team shared that collaboration has been the most important component of their project. O’Hanlon shared, “Connecting with educators and health care providers in West Central Minnesota and hearing their perspectives, ideas, and priorities was essential in determining the direction of our work.” By connecting with educators and health care providers, the team created a final product that would benefit the community in West Central Minnesota. Chaudhry also shared, “Early exposure to interprofessional roles can empower aspiring healthcare professional students to be receptive to team-based dynamics in the future.” Through this project, the team has learned more about Minnesota's health care and public health issues through hands-on work with the community.  By learning how workforce shortages impact rural communities, the team is better equipped to address these challenges in their professional careers. 

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