The California Endowmenthas announced grants totaling $78.2 million to California organizations working to boost the size and diversity of the state's healthcare workforce.
Awarded through the endowment's new 21st Century Pathways to Health Careers initiative, the grants will support statewide and local programs that create career paths in healthcare for youth in grades 7-16. According to the endowment, "significant and long-standing" health workforce disparities by location, specialty, language skills, and culture exist across the state, disproportionately affecting low-income and communities of color in both urban and rural areas.
The initiative is organized around three strategic goals and outcomes: increased career opportunities in healthcare for young Californians, especially boys and young men of color; a health workforce populated by local residents in frontline jobs supporting primary care, community-based prevention, patient-centered medical homes, and integrated and coordinated care models; and a larger and more skilled healthcare workforce able to provide high-quality, culturally responsive, and linguistically competent primary care and community health services in places of greatest need.
To help develop such a workforce, the endowment will focus on supporting high-quality workforce development programs that enable healthcare workers to improve their skills and prepare for high demand occupations in the public healthcare sector while training community health workers and medical assistants, enabling them to be better integrated into the state's health services system. In addition, the Health Professions Education Foundationand Song-Brown Program— both foundation-commissioned grant programs — will fund grade 7-16 pathway programs designed to boost the availability of career opportunities for young people, especially boys and young men of color.
"As the Affordable Care Act expands healthcare coverage, a diverse, capable healthcare workforce focused on prevention is essential to the well-being of all Californians," said California Endowment senior vice president of Healthy Communities Anthony Iton. "At The California Endowment, we know that a larger and well-trained health workforce that reflects its diverse population, is well-distributed, and ready to provide twenty-first century care is key to making health happen throughout our communities."