Health Professions Affinity Community
Enriching communities one student at a time.
The Health Professions Affinity Community (HPAC) program is a fresh call to action to change the way we address health and success in our communities. The program relies on precious existing community resources, namely its students, and combining these resources in a manner that supports their success and health based on their academic and career interests and the desire to contribute to their community in a positive fashion. The goal of the HPAC program is to promote community health and success by empowering students to address persistent health disparities and challenges by enacting health projects in their communities. HPACs support students as they identify personal and community resources and connect them to pressing community health concerns. Students in HPAC use these connections and learning to make a positive difference now and into the future.
While student participation stand to benefit greatly from participating in this program, their communities benefit as well. Because student programs are focused on health-related and environmental issues, these programs will provide services and a new focus of community members aimed at improving the quality of life and health of community residents. In addition, the experience of the program prepares students to be actively engaged citizens, capable of enacting tangible change in society during a time when the US health care system will need it most. Perhaps most importantly, it casts adolescents in distressed communities as positive agents of change, which can dramatically improve the narrative and perception of “those kids” in “those communities” both for “those on the inside” and “those on the outside” of these neighborhoods. Lastly, it provides a real opportunity for us recognize the role of health as a public good with significant rights and responsibilities. The health and success of our communities will depend on this change!