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Peer Support

“A third respondent observed that studying in a small, supportive group of like-minded peers helped her, and later, her students succeed. This kind of support was important for midwives who otherwise faced exclusion from white midwives.”  -Yamasaki McLaughlin p. 31

“So, we're alone, because most of the time, we're just one or two. If we're lucky, we have another colleague in the class. If not, we're by ourselves. So it's very hard to find someone, another student you can collaborate with that would help you through school.”

- Kennedy et al p.87

Why Important to Promote?
Why Important to Promote?
  • Promoting peer support benefits all students:

  • “Studies have also shown that underrepresented students’ sense of belonging on campus and opportunities for leadership can increase through engagement with other students from their own cultural groups." (Taylor, Milem & Coleman, 2016, p.27)

  • "Peer mentoring (including ‘tiered’ mentoring, where senior students mentor junior students) is beneficial to both the mentor and mentee, and is at least as effective as classroom learning for improving communication, critical thinking and self-confidence. It has also been shown to strengthen leadership skills...and decrease anxiety." (RCN Mentorship Project 2015)

  • “It is important to note that the benefits of diversity do not necessarily flow to all students in the same way. Studies have shown, for example, that white students may benefit more from exposure to diverse ideas and information and exposure to diverse peers, but African-American students may benefit more from their interactions with diverse peers and exposure to close friends of their own race.” p.9

  • "The mere presence of minorities and co-existence of diverse groups is not enough; what matters most is what an institution does with its diverse student population. Curriculum and course offerings, faculty engagement, mentoring, and student peer and affinity groups can all play a role.” p.24.

Taylor, Milem & Coleman, 2016

  • Peer Support opportunities may need to be fostered in collaboration with others schools for students/apprentices of color who feel isolated in their own small program:

    • Dr. Nancy Anderson's qualitative research for NACPM revealed the important role of peer support in empowering aspiring midwives of color to become certified but also found that many students feel isolated in their own program where they may be the only one or one of few marginalized students.

  • Xavier University consistently produces more black students who apply to and then graduate from medical school than any other institution in the country.  Read more about the peer support community nurtured there: A Prescription for More Black Doctors

  • "The Promoting Leadership and Achievement in Nursing (PLAN) peer mentoring program is a structured program which matches students for personal and professional support...It is targeted at historically underrepresented populations in nursing which include: racial, ethnic, and cultural minorities, males, first generation students, and those of other diverse backgrounds." at Ohio State University College of Nursing

  • Peer learning is encouraged  through a Diversity and Inclusion in Health Care Certificate program at Ohio State University College of Nursing

  • Brown University sponsors a Social Justice Peer Education Program to help promote the creation of a more equity-focused school climate through peer education

  • The University at Albany (SUNY) C.H.A.R.G.E Peer Educator Program prepares students to educate their peers on:




Taylor, T. E., Milem, J. F., & Coleman, A. F. (2016). Bridging the research to practice gap: Achieving mission-driven diversity and inclusion goals. A Review of Research Findings and Policy Implications for Colleges and Universities                                         

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