Blog Post
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Shaping the Research Priorities for Health Workforce Policy: An Update and Invitation

June 13, 2024

Logo for Policy at Healthforce Center at UCSF

By Dr. Sunita Mutha, Director, Healthforce Center at UCSF


Guided by the values of social justice and health equity, Healthforce Center at UCSF set out to advance California-focused health workforce research that prioritizes systems and policy changes to promote the diversity and skills of health workers. To achieve this aim, we envisioned a process enriched by the voices of community stakeholders that generates workforce knowledge, informs policymaking, and supports advocacy for systems change.

Our vision is to generate better economic opportunity through health care jobs that, over time, result in better health and health care outcomes for California communities. The table below frames up our guiding values for this vision. Funded by The California Endowment and in partnership with Health Career Connection, we are pleased to provide an update on the work to date.

Table: Guiding Values

Year One Progress Update

The first year has focused on planning for the work we’ll do over the next four years. During this time, we've conducted interviews with stakeholders and interest groups from diverse communities and revealed a tapestry of priorities and efforts across California. As we listened to those who have long been doing this work in communities, we came to understand many diverse assets, ideas, and needs that inform opportunities to shape workforce policy in organizations and across the state. These opportunities include making it possible to access regional workforce data for planning, increasing collaboration to develop and share solutions across regions and organizations, increasing knowledge of the state’s health care workforce efforts, and more. We combined this environmental scan with our knowledge of health workforce issues and trends in California and beyond to generate project ideas that might meet current and future needs. See an overview of what we've learned.

We also engaged a Pathfinder Council to represent and elevate community voices, help us test and ground our understanding, and amplify areas to prioritize. The result of this process is an expanded understanding of the intricate web that constitutes California’s health workforce ecosystem and needs today and refined ideas for projects for the coming year. The resulting project ideas include approaches to gathering and using workforce data to inform planning efforts, issue briefs on policies that shape the diversity and work of existing and future health workers, as well as future trends such as ways in which artificial intelligence may shape how health care workers provide care.

Pathfinder Council members pictured left to right: Lisa Countryman-Quiroz from JVS - Bay Area, Crispin Delgado from Insure the Uninsured Project, Virginia Hedrick from the California Consortium for Urban Indian Health, Kiran Savage-Sangwan from California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, and Van Ton-Quinlivan from Futuro Health.

We Invite Your Input

As part of our commitment to a process that is community informed, our next steps are to share more details on our process to date and what we’ve learned with all of you and to invite anyone interested in shaping our health workforce policy priorities to participate in design workshops. In August and September, we’ll hold two online workshops (each with the same content) for people to discuss the projects we expect to undertake in the coming year. These projects will focus on meeting current priorities and better defining some emergent and future oriented policy issues that will shape health workforce efforts in California.

  • Wednesday, August 21, 9:00 – 11:00 AM Pacific: Register now
  • Monday, September 9, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM Pacific: Register now

Whether you are an advocate, policymaker, researcher, employer, workforce collaborative member, or a health student or worker, we want to hear your voice! Please join one of the two design workshops to share your ideas and recommendations. If you’re not able to attend, contact us for the pre-work to provide your thoughts by email.

We look forward to a shared journey to achieve a vision of a thriving, equitable health workforce ecosystem in California. Please share this invitation widely with your colleagues and collaborators!


We invite your comments and questions about this project and our year-one update to [email protected]. To hear about updates on our progress and ways to get involved, subscribe to our mailing list. You can also follow Healthforce Center on LinkedIn.