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September 2019
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Message from the Director

The University of Washington Center for Health Workforce Studies (UW CHWS) team has been active in traveling and presenting this summer. Below we highlight what we have been up to and our team’s latest accomplishments including the addition of a new team member and recognition for the work we have been doing to inform policy makers and other stakeholders. Looking forward, UW CHWS will continue to carry out the Center’s mission to elevate the importance of workers in the delivery of health care in policy discussions with 11 new projects funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) kicking off in September on topics such as the role of occupational therapists in addressing behavioral health, the changing characteristics of clinical lab professionals, the expanding role of community paramedics, the experiential learning opportunities during health professional education, the disability competencies addressed within medical curriculum, the role of doulas in addressing health disparities, the burden of being an underrepresented minority in the health professions, among others. We look forward to updating you on our progress in our next issue. In the meantime, thank you for reading and we wish you a productive fall season.


Bianca K. Frogner, PhD

                                                                                  UW CHWS Director

Welcome to Our Newest Team Member

The UW CHWS recently added a member to our growing team. Research Scientist Ben Dunlap, MPH will primarily work on a new assessment of access to the behavioral health workforce in Washington State, funded by the State Legislature. UW CHWS is collaborating with the State Workforce Board and the Department of Health on this project which will provide key information for state decision making. Welcome Ben!

Publication Highlight

Congratulations to Research Scientist Sam Pollack, MPH, who co-authored a paper titled “Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Clinical Grading in Medical School” published in the Journal of Teaching and Learning in Medicine with colleagues across the UW School of Medicine. The paper investigated the influence of student race/ethnicity on clinical clerkship grading and Medical Student Performance Evaluations.

John M. Eisenberg Article-of-the-Year Award

Congratulations to UW CHWS team members Director Bianca Frogner, PhD, Holly Andrilla, MS (both pictured below with Kenneth Harwood, PhD, PT, Associate Professor, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, George Washington University), and Malaika Schwartz, MPH who received the John M. Eisenberg Article-of-the-Year in Health Services Research Award at the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting this June in Washington, DC. The Award recognizes excellent and original research published in The Journal of Health Services Research during the year prior to the award.  “Physical Therapy as the First Point of Care to Treat Low Back Pain: An Instrumental Variables Approach to Estimate Impact on Opioid Prescription, Health Care Utilization, and Costs”, published in the 6th issue, was a collaborative effort with colleagues at George Washington University.  

Awardees are selected by the Co-Editors-in-Chief, the Senior Associate Editors, and the publisher, based on the overall quality of the article and its relevance to policy-relevant areas that Dr. Eisenberg had worked in or promoted during his tenure as Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Beti Thompson Cancer Health Equity Research Award

Congratulations to Dr. India Ornelas (standing at right of Dr. Beti Thompson), an Investigator of the UW CHWS, who received the Beti Thompson Cancer Health Equity Research Award for her research on community-centered and culturally relevant interventions in the realms of mental health, substance abuse, and cancer prevention. In the coming year, Dr. Ornelas lead a UW CHWS study assessing the current landscape of experiential education in preparing health professionals on health equity issues. 

The award honors Dr. Beti Thompson, a community-based participatory research practitioner at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Thompson has devoted her research career to helping underserved populations by working with community partners and stakeholders to develop culturally relevant interventions that address public health concerns brought forth by the community.


Updates from the Sentinel Network

Our center recently released summary findings from six rounds of data collection (since 2016) of the Washington Health Workforce Sentinel Network (summaries available here). Our findings will help inform education, training and policy partners on emerging signals of changes in health workforce demand in Washington State. In July, the Sentinel Network launched in Connecticut in partnership with the CT League for Nursing and the CT Center for Nursing Workforce. Connecticut’s first Sentinel Network round provided the basis for discussion at the CT 2019 Health Workforce Summit, where UW CHWS Senior Deputy Director Susan Skillman (pictured left with Marcia Proto, Executive Director of CT Center for Nursing Workforce) presented initial findings (available here). Interviews with Ms. Skillman and key nursing and workforce stakeholders in CT at the Summit can be viewed at the Summit website. Both Washington and Connecticut will collect new workforce demand data this fall. If you would like to learn about how to launch a Sentinel Network in your state, please contact us at

Informing the Future Direction of Population Health

Director Bianca Frogner, along with two UW CHWS investigators Dr. Selina Mohammed (Professor and Associate Dean at the School of Nursing and Health Studies, University of Washington - Bothell) and Dr. India Ornelas (Associate Professor at the School of Public Health, University of Washington - Seattle), have all been named to a 30-member executive council for the University’s Population Health Initiative. They will be responsible for developing, implementing and measuring progress toward the initiative’s goals, which are to strengthen community resilience and capacity, bolster healthy starts for children, adolescents and families, and nurture brain, behavior and capability development. Learn more about the council’s structure in its governance plan. The council is chaired by University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce.


 Conferences and Other Presentations

The UW CHWS team continues to engage with our peers and participate in national discussions. At the June AcademyHealth Health Workforce Interest Group (IG) Meeting and Annual Research Meeting in Washington, DC, UW CHWS investigators were involved in four podium and six poster presentations, and led two round table discussions. Among the topics presented were research on apprenticeship models to create a pipeline of medical assistants (pictured is our Research Scientist Andrew Jopson, MPH presenting the medical assistant project poster), state incentive programs to recruit and retain workers in underserved communities, and understanding education surplus among immigrants working in health. These projects were funded by our Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant focused on allied health. Dr. Davis Patterson, UW CHWS investigator, has been serving as the Health Workforce Interest Group Vice Chair in the past year and will be the Chair in the upcoming year, ushering in the new changes to the Interest Group format. 

The National Forum of Nursing Workforce Centers was held in Denver, CO in June. Senior Deputy Director Susan Skillman was responsible for three presentations:

  • Nurse workforce supply and demand projections: How different models and source data influence the results
  • Describing workforce demand: Three states’ data collection and dissemination approaches and examples of uses of the data
  • Routes to rural readiness: Enhancing clinical experiences for nurse practitioner practice in rural primary care

Ms. Skillman was invited to present a talk titled “Examining rural health care quality: What does the workforce have to do with it?” to the American Association of Health Care Journalists’ Rural Workshop, also held in Denver in June.

July was a busy travel month for Director Bianca Frogner. First stop was Bozeman, Montana where she participated in a national discussion on the future agenda for nursing health services research. Her second stop was Basel, Switzerland where she participated in the International Health Economic Association (IHEA) and presented her study on the rising exit rates of low-skilled healthcare workers. Dr. Frogner was part of the planning committee (pictured) for IHEA’s newest Health Workforce Special Interest Group

See the full list of presentations at our website.


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