Health Careers Futures Board Showcases JHF Workforce Initiatives

Nancy Zionts outlines the work of the two phases of the Revisiting the Teaching Nursing Home initiative.

On August 23, the Health Careers Futures (HCF) Board convened to discuss the Jewish Healthcare Foundation's (JHF) teen mental health initiatives, the Behavioral Health Fellows program, Feinstein Fellowships, Revisiting the Teaching Nursing Home's Phase II project plan, and lessons learned from international models of care for women and seniors.

Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD, president and CEO of JHF, shared insights from her recent study tour to Australia and New Zealand and innovative models being deployed there to address the current teen mental health crisis including drop-in centers that provide a comprehensive approach to addressing the social, psychological and medical needs of teens. Services can range from teens who are simply seeking a peer counselor to talk to,to youth seeking psychiatric therapy for early onset psychosis.

Deborah Murdoch, MPH, senior program manager of community health, presented ongoing teen mental health initiatives and the increased momentum for the work at the Foundation. Murdoch provided an overview of the teen mental health services currently being offered at The Friendship Circle's The Beacon in Squirrel Hill made possible in part by a grant from JHF.

UpStreet Pittsburgh, a teen mental health service offering free counseling to anyone ages 12-22, like The Beacon was seeded after JHF's 2018 study tour to an Australian headspace centre and was implemented by the Jewish Family and Community Services. JHF also provided initial funding and consultation for the launch of the program. UpStreet has since extended its service delivery and this winter will open a physical space, JFCS Youth Services at 5844 Forward Avenue.

Murdoch also gave an update on Pennsylvania Senate Bill 886, developed in partnership with members of the PA Youth Advocacy Network, which has been introduced into the General Assembly and would provide students with excused mental health days. She supplied Board members with a copy of the Mental Health Advocacy Action Guide which was designed by the PA Youth Advocacy Network to share information about issues and ways for other youth to take action.

The HCF Board lauded JHF's commitment to advancing teen mental health services and the work of the teen mental health team.

Bridget McNamee, MID, behavioral health project manager, provided an overview of the Behavioral Health Fellows (BH Fellows) program. Sponsored by Allegheny County Department of Human Services in collaboration with Community Care Behavioral Health and JHF, the BH Fellows program offers educational loan repayment, minimum salary standards, and a cohort learning experience in exchange for a two-year commitment to a behavioral health job within a qualified service area. The inaugural cohort is currently underway, and the second cohort will begin their training program this fall. The BH Fellows program goal is to recruit 180 fellows through 2024.

Scotland Huber, MS, chief communications officer, presented an overview of the recent progress of the Feinstein Fellowships, including seeing 498 applications and 362 fellows complete a program since the beginning of 2020. The Feinstein Fellowships, launched back in 2001 and renamed in honor of Karen Feinstein in 2016, have now seen over 1,800 alumni come through at least one of the programs. JHF is currently recruiting for the fall's Salk Health Activist Fellowship and the Death & Dying Series for Healthcare Professionals.

Health Careers Futures was recently awarded a $3.3 million three-year grant from The John A. Hartford Foundation for Phase II of the Revisiting the Teaching Nursing Home Initiative: Dissemination Across Pennsylvania. The project addresses quality of care in long term care by enhancing the training and engagement of the current careforce while strengthening the pipeline of workers for the future. This occurs in partnership with nursing schools across the Commonwealth. Nancy Zionts, MBA, JHF chief operating officer and chief program officer, Anneliese Perry, MS, NHA, program manager of aging initiatives, and Maureen Saxon-Gioia, MSHSA, BSN, RN, nurse project manager of aging initiatives, provided an overview of the accomplishments of Phase I and the plans for Phase II, which includes sustaining engagement and sharing lessons learned to improve residents' quality of care and outcomes within nursing homes and evaluating interventions and broadly disseminate the lessons learned beyond Pennsylvania. It also provides for the establishment of a curriculum task force to examine the current approaches and areas where innovation is needed, propose feasible actions to impact the quality of nursing student academic programs and to include the specialty of post-acute and long-term care in nursing homes, and advance findings that identify feasible updates to curriculum.

Zionts presented on the lessons learned about how to care for an aging population by Dr. Feinstein on a Commonwealth Fund study tour to Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore and her own insights from the JHF study tour to Norway and Finland. These include international models of care for women and seniors, touching on the value of Australia's ongoing 45 and Up Study, Oslo's innovative model of a dementia village, and shifts being made in systems of care to accommodate Singapore's rapidly aging population, including creating age-friendly living environments to allow seniors to age in place.

JHF and Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative Chief Policy Officer Robert Ferguson, MPH gave an update on the maternal health policy goals for 2023, including: Modernizing the midwifery scope of practice, advocating for reimbursement for certified Doulas and community health workers, and increasing the enrollment in WIC. 

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