The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) and its member institutions have embraced the concepts of diversity and multiculturalism in optometric education and in the profession. ASCO bases its diversity program on several assumptions including: (1) Greater diversity among health professionals is associated with improved access to care for our diverse society, greater patient choice and satisfaction, better patient-provider communication, and better educational experiences for all students, which will prepare them for the diverse communities they will serve in practice, (2) Diversity is good for optometric education and the profession, and (3) It is the right thing to do.
Developing a Diverse Applicant Pool in Optometric Education Mini-Grant Program (formerly the Diversity Mini-Grant Program)
The Developing a Diverse Applicant Pool in Optometric Education Mini-Grant Program is designed to provide seed money for a specific program/project. Mini-grants are limited to assisting schools/colleges of optometry with programs that strive to develop and implement educationally sound activities specifically designed to recruit and retain underrepresented minority students, financially disadvantaged students, and first generation college students.
This is the tenth year that ASCO has offered a diversity-related mini-grant program. The program requirements have changed somewhat this year (see Developing a Diverse Applicant Pool program information details). Awards will only be given to programs/projects that focus on the development of a more diverse optometric applicant pool. Innovative efforts that strive to develop or enhance the applicant pool and promote optometry as a career among underrepresented groups through summer, mentoring, or guidance programs, etc. will have a chance at being selected for funding.