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New Recommendations Address California Health Workforce Challenges

Judy Belk

When it comes to health workforce challenges in California, there are things we know for sure.

I know for a fact – from our grantmaking at The California Wellness Foundation – that California faces serious health workforce challenges. We’ve seen the toll that the lack of providers in rural parts of the state takes on communities, particularly communities of color. And while there have been some piecemeal efforts to address this issue – some Affordable Care Act provisions and campaigns to recruit practitioners —there are countless more needs that must be addressed.

The good news is that The California Future Health Workforce Commission has been hard at work creating new recommendations to help address the projected shortfall of primary care health providers in California. This blue-ribbon commission conducted a system-wide study. Cal Wellness was proud to help fund the work. And now we have the findings.

I was particularly excited to see that the commission identified the priority of improving diversity in the health professions, with the goal of producing as many as 30,000 workers from underrepresented communities. The research has shown us that when communities are served by people who understand their needs and who have the necessary cultural competencies, there are real results.

To tackle the problem, the Workforce’s report recommends a $3 billion investment over a 10-year period (less than 1% of what Californians are estimated to spend on health care system in 2019). I encourage you to read the complete report, and I also encourage you to join panel discussions taking place in Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Fresno over the coming months, either in person or via livestream (learn more here).

I urge you to get involved and join the conversation on this exciting report — together, we can help bring the recommendations to fruition.

Judy Belk: The Reason for Diversity in Health Care Is Simple
Judy Belk image
President and CEO Judy Belk

Judy Belk leads The California Wellness Foundation in pursuing its mission to improve the health of the people of California. In her role, she uses her vision and her voice to help Cal Wellness “level the playing field” so that everyone has access to good-paying jobs, safe neighborhoods and quality health care services.

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