Health Careers Futures Board Discusses New Funding Opportunities for the Healthcare Workforce and to Improve Maternal and Child Health

Nancy Zionts presents insights from the Consumer Electronics Show to the Board.

For several years, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and Health Careers Futures have been focused on the healthcare workforce crisis and how the Foundation can work to address this issue.

During the Health Careers Futures Board meeting on March 22, JHF Chief Policy Officer Robert Ferguson, MPH presented on JHF's workforce policy goals and opportunities for 2023. In his presentation, Ferguson detailed the national healthcare workforce crisis, adding that Pennsylvania workforce shortages are among the most severe in the nation, ranking third worst for shortages in mental health professionals and third worst for nursing support staff nationally.

To address this issue, JHF is working to: Establish a National Patient Safety Board; create a statewide healthcare workforce initiative to understand the current work conditions for frontline workers to inform JHF's statewide training initiative programs; establishing a Healthcare Workforce Command Center at the Governor's Office; and continue to brainstorm, create, and advocate for other policy solutions with the ability to have a meaningful impact across the commonwealth, such as obtaining PA Medicaid reimbursement for certified community health workers and doulas.

Alaina Connor, JHF's women's health grants specialist, gave a presentation on JHF's $9.9 million multi-year contract from the PA Department of Human Services to improve Maternal and Child Health, including a $5 million Maternal Care Innovation RFP.

JHF Chief Communications Officer Scotland Huber and Christina Graves, JD, senior manager of behavioral health planning at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (ACDHS) presented the Behavioral Health Fellows Program, an initiative in partnership with ACDHS to support those interested in gaining professional experience serving underserved populations with behavioral health needs.

Karen Wolk Feinstein and Nancy Zionts summarized their visit to the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Feinstein and Zionts shared the many opportunities to experience innovations in real-time healthcare monitoring, patient and caregiver engagement and communication, diagnostics, infection prevention, support for persons living with dementia, the phenomenon of digital twins, and technology assists for frontline clinical teams. They believe that a foundation, to be truly innovative and influential, must understand how discoveries at the frontiers of health technology can help transform the prevention of disease, create new care models, ease the burden on the healthcare workforce. They've observed how the presence of the foundation community has grown at CES over the last decade.

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