Health Care Workforce Development
The United States is in the midst of a shortage of healthcare professionals. Many states, including Missouri, are reporting vacancies in a number of health care positions including primary care practitioners, nursing, pharmacists, laboratory personnel, and physical/occupational therapists.
More than 80 percent of the state has been designated a health professional shortage area, leaving one in five Missourians currently without access to primary care services.
Following significant research into this issue and an MFH-sponsored gathering of various stakeholders in 2009, MFH established a funding program to support efforts to build a strong, accessible and sustainable health care workforce in Missouri.
In 2012, grantmaking targeted a variety of health professionals experiencing shortages by focusing on three areas:
The goal of the Health Care Workforce Development funding program is to reduce the current and predicted shortages of health care workers and professionals. Programs funded under this initiative support the recruitment of youth into health careers, the education and training of medical students and the recruitment of medical workers and professionals into college and medical school faculty positions.
Health care workforce development was the topic of the 2009 MFH Summit. Thirty-six experts from eight states presented 22 sessions on the health care workforce shortage. Sessions focused on defining the problem in Missouri, establishing causes for the shortage and identifying promising solutions to the problem.Common themes included the importance of exposing and attracting youth to health careers, increasing access to physician assistants and nurse practitioners, increasing the diversity of the health care workforce, and increasing the capacity of nursing schools to admit and train students.