February 13 2019

The California Future Health Workforce Commission – co-chaired by University of California President Janet Napolitano and Dignity Health CEO and President Lloyd Dean – announced a bold set of recommendations today to eliminate the projected shortfall of health providers the state is expected to face in the field of primary care by 2030. These recommendations would also nearly eliminate what is projected to be a severe psychiatry shortage and bolster the pipeline of students and health workers who seek to provide care in underserved communities.

The Commission is calling on state, regional and local leaders to advance 10 priority actions the team of 24 experts has outlined that are needed to build and support the robust and diverse health workforce required to meet the growing demands to provide health care for California’s diverse population. These recommendations come in light of findings by the Commission that California will face a shortfall of 4,100 primary care clinicians and will only have two-thirds of the psychiatrists it needs in the next decade.

Health workforce shortages are already hitting rural areas and many communities of color particularly hard: It’s estimated that seven million Californians, the majority of them Latino, African American, and Native American, live in Health Professional Shortage Areas — a federal designation for counties experiencing shortfalls of primary care, dental care, or mental health care providers. Communities of color will also make up the majority of Californians by 2030, but they remain severely underrepresented in the health workforce.

The Commission’s report identifies opportunities to strengthen the supply, distribution, and diversity of workers in primary care, behavioral health, care for older adults, and other emerging areas of need. This includes accelerating training of primary care clinicians and behavioral health providers, expanding college pipeline programs to bring more low-income and underrepresented minority professionals into the health workforce, increasing medical school enrollment and expanding the number of primary care and psychiatric residencies.

Click here for Executive Summary

Click here for full report

Click here for list of at-a-glance recommendations

Robert K. Ross, MD, President and CEO of The California Endowment, discusses the benefits of investing in the health career pipeline.

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