In 1970, a small group of University of Minnesota students from medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and public health came together to form the Council for Health Interdisciplinary Participation (CHIP). During a time of social change in the United States, these learners created space for health professional students to gather, intermingle, freely express themselves, and advocate for change within the healthcare industry. Throughout the following years, the group participated in various community projects; they provided medical relief at concerts, hosted drug seminars, conducted blood drives, and gradually evolved into what is now known as the Center for Health Interprofessional Programs (CHIP).
Over 50 years later, CHIP still adheres to the mission, vision, and values of the original organizers. As a unique office staffed mostly by students and that supports over 100 leaders of various student organizations, CHIP remains a student-driven, interprofessional community that values co-curricular education, equity, and wellbeing. Through a continued emphasis on leadership development and peer education, CHIP aims to provide health professional students unique and inclusive opportunities that help them connect, collaborate, and become agents of change in the healthcare system.
In collaboration with students, staff, and faculty across the health sciences, CHIP has reflected upon the work that we do and the areas in which we would like to grow. While we acknowledge that diversity, equity, and inclusion have been important aspects of CHIP programming throughout our history, we also recognize a need to further prioritize these principles in our work within a field that has and continues to marginalize many groups. The structural racism embedded in our nation’s systems is a fundamental cause of health disparities and negative health outcomes. For that reason, it is important that we prompt our future healthcare practitioners to think about and address inequitable structures during their time as students in order to help make sustainable changes in healthcare.