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30 March 2000

UCSF Creates Initiative to Address Changes in Health Care Workforce

With the almost continuous changes that have shaken California's health care system in the last several years, its workers have also been thrown into turmoil. In response to these changes, two California foundations-the California HealthCare Foundation and The California Endowment-have donated $7 million to UCSF's Center for Health Professions to create the California Workforce Initiative (CWI).

This ambitious new program will collect and analyze data on the changing workforce, encourage reform of state and federal policy, help create new curricula to train health care professionals, and strive to make health care institutions more accountable to the people they serve.

The nearly constant changes in the health care industry demand an initiative that focuses on the workers, said Ed O'Neil, PhD, a co-director of UCSF's Center for the Health Professions. "Labor costs account for almost 70 percent of health care expenditures. Any reform to California's health care system spells significant change for its workforce," he said.

Among the issues CWI plans to study and address are: the supply and distribution of health care professionals, ethnic diversity in the industry, the need for re-training, and government regulation of health care workers.

The CWI has already begun work on three research and policy development projects. CWI is offering support to programs statewide that train allied and auxiliary health care workers, restructure jobs, and develop new career opportunities. CWI will also start a program to develop community leaders in the health care industry. And, by contributing funds to The Network, a collaboration between academic health centers and health care organizations that helps develop curricula for medical residency programs, the CWI will help to improve and modernize the education of new doctors.

The CWI also hopes to educate the public about health care workforce issues, an effort that should help people make better-informed health care decisions.

UCSF's Center for the Health Professions was established to assist health care professionals, health profession schools, health care delivery organizations and public policy makers respond to the challenges of educating and managing a health care workforce capable of improving the health and well-being of people and their communities.

The California Health Care Foundation is an Oakland-based, independent non profit philanthropic organization whose mission is to expand access for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of the people of California.

The California Endowment is a private foundation with staff throughout the state whose grants are made to organizations and institutions that directly benefit the well-being of Californians.

Links:

California Workforce Initiative
UCSF's Center for the Health Professions
California Health Care Foundation
The California Endowment



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