Health care’s efforts to increase the diversity of its workforce may be in store for a much-needed boost. Medical and health educators are making holistic review a bigger part of their admissions process, a move that has shown to increase diversity of the student population, according to a report from Urban Universities for Health.

Holistic review entails adding such things as essay questions and interviews to the admissions process, and reducing reliance on the traditional GPA and standardized test scores. “You actually try to gain an understanding of someone’s motivation, someone’s stick-to-itiveness or grit, things that will predict their ability to move forward,” says Greer Glazer, R.N., associate vice president for health affairs and dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Cincinnati.

Schools that use holistic review have been able to increase admission to minorities and those disadvantaged by socioeconomic circumstance without sacrificing on quality of the student body. Getting the health care workforce to more closely resemble the general population is expected to improve the public’s health.