2018 Publication and Presentation Highlights
UW CHWS investigators and staff have presented over 30 times around the US as well as internationally and produced nearly 20 publications in 2018. Our studies have appeared in journals such as Health Services Research, Medical Care Research and Review and Journal of Advanced Nursing.
The International Health Workforce Collaborative was held in New Zealand in April, where Director Bianca Frogner, Senior Deputy Director Sue Skillman and Investigator Davis Patterson presented research findings and engaged with other health workforce researchers and policy experts from the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the US.
From our HRSA-funded work on the allied health workforce, we are finding that healthcare workers have unclear career paths, which may threaten the diversity of the future health workforce. A study led by Dr. Cyndy Snyder showed that the current health workforce is diverse, particularly in lower-skilled occupations. Another study she led found limited evidence that workers in low-skilled healthcare occupations followed a career path with any demonstrated upward mobility in title.
Senior Deputy Director Sue Skillman with co-authors Dr. Frogner, Dr. Arati Dahal, and Ms. Holly Andrilla led a study describing the Washington (WA) State Medical Assistant-Certified (MA-C) workforce, which found that over half of MA-Cs planned to seek employment in another healthcare occupation within the next 5 years. The percentage was higher for those who felt overwhelmed or felt they had fewer job promotion opportunities. Hispanic, Black, and Asian MA-Cs in WA state were more likely than White MA-Cs to express interest in other healthcare careers within 5 years.
With funding from the Arcora Foundation, UW CHWS was able to conduct the study Assessing the Impact of Washington State’s Oral Health Workforce on Patient Access to Care, under the direction of Dr. Davis Patterson. This extensive study included a survey of the state’s dentists, family physicians and pediatricians to examine factors affecting their role in providing needed oral healthcare.
A new study of the demographic, practice and education characteristics of Washington State’s registered nurse workforce was completed this Fall, based on a survey of the more than 90,000 RNs in the state. Among other findings, this Washington Center for Nursing-funded study, conducted by Sue Skillman, Ben Stubbs, and Sofia Aragon, estimates that 63% of Washington’s RNs now have baccalaureate degrees or higher.
Washington’s Health Workforce Sentinel Network released a fifth round of findings to its web-based dashboard in October. These findings provide signals of health workforce demand changes being experienced by employers from many different healthcare settings across the state. Information about the Sentinel Network and its findings has been used to inform health workforce planning in Washington, and several states have expressed interest in using the Sentinel Network model. The Sentinel Network is an initiative of Washington’s Health Workforce Council, conducted collaboratively by UW CHWS team, including Sue Skillman, Ben Stubbs, and Amy Clark, and Washington’s Workforce Board.
Our findings were shared with more states when Dr. Davis Patterson and Senior Deputy Director Sue Skillman were invited to present recent health workforce research findings to Legislators and policy leaders from Midwestern and Western states at the Milbank Memorial Fund's Reforming States Group meeting in Portland, OR. Attendee comments like “The discussion on rural health was wonderful” and “I picked up some good ideas that I can use in my state” confirmed that findings from UW CHWS, WWAMI Rural Health Research Center and Rural PREP research were well received at the November event. Affirming the significance of our mission “to elevate the importance of workers in the delivery of healthcare” in policy discussions was a great way to wrap up the year!