NEWS | August 24, 2017

UC Davis School of Nursing dean among leaders named to statewide health workforce commission


Heather M. Young, the founding dean of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, is among 24 education and health care leaders named to the new California Future Health Workforce Commission.

Heather M. Young, founding dean of the School of Nursing, joins education and health care leaders to serve on a new statewide commission to address the future of  the health workforce in California. Heather M. Young, founding dean of the School of Nursing, joins education and health care leaders to serve on a new statewide commission to address the future of the health workforce in California.

The commission, which is co-chaired by Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California, and Lloyd Dean, president and CEO of Dignity Health, aims to draft a blueprint to ensure California’s workforce is ready to meet the population’s current and future health needs. Commissioners, who lead in health, education and workforce development sectors, will convene over the next 15 months to draft a master plan to bolster the health workforce with an emphasis on primary care, behavioral health and care for the aging. It is the first time that top statewide leaders from these sectors have coordinated efforts to address this issue.

“As our society grows older and more diverse, we must have health care providers prepared to meet the changing needs of our population and to represent the people they serve,” Young said. “Since nurses make up the largest percentage of the health care workforce in California, I’m honored, as a nurse, to contribute with these leaders as we work to expand access, improve quality and build healthier communities that benefit everyone.”

Four of California’s leading health philanthropies are supporting the project: The California Endowment, California Health Care Foundation, The California Wellness Foundation and Blue Shield of California Foundation.

The Future Health Commission will examine a variety of themes with implications for health workforce development, including:

  • Addressing current and emerging workforce shortages in urban and rural areas to ensure access to quality, affordable services and improved equity in health outcomes.
  • Preparing a health workforce that has the necessary skills and training and can leverage technological advances to promote health and improve efficiency of care delivery.
  • Prioritizing innovation in workforce and training solutions to address rising health care and education costs.
  • Increasing opportunities for California residents to become the future health workforce and secure rewarding jobs in service to their communities.

“I am honored and eager to help spearhead this urgent effort to prepare and expand our state's health workforce to meet the needs of California's increasingly diverse population,” Napolitano said. “Now is the time to craft a blueprint that will help guide policymakers, health care educators, providers and other state and community leaders in implementing a sustainable and forward-looking strategy that ensures all Californians have access to high-quality health care."

Over the next 15 months, the commissioners—along with technical advisers and the commission’s expert support staff—will work to develop a master plan for California to heal the gap between the health landscape that exists today and one that works for future generations while simultaneously creating thousands of jobs in the sector.

The California Future Health Workforce Commission will hold its first meeting in September 2017 and will conclude its work in December 2018. Commissioners’ final plan will promote short-, medium- and longer-term solutions that could be implemented by the state, educational institutions, employers and other stakeholders to address current and future gaps in the health workforce. The goal is to secure commitments to implement and sustain the plan and priority recommendations.

Commissioners serve without compensation. For more information on the workforce and for a listing of all 24 commissioners, visit