New HHS initiative aims to strengthen nation’s health workforce

July 6, 2023

On July 6, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra highlighted the recently launched HHS Health Workforce Initiative during an event at Lincoln-West School of Science and Health, a public high school in Cleveland, Ohio, which prepares students for college and careers in healthcare.

The goal of the HHS Health Workforce Initiative is to support, strengthen, and grow the health workforce by leveraging programs across the Department, including through the $2.7 billion workforce investment proposed in the President’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget for the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) workforce training, scholarship, loan repayment and well-being programs. The Department’s Initiative is focused on federal investments to support individuals across health workforce disciplines – including physicians, nurses, dentists, behavioral healthcare providers, community health workers, peer support specialists and many others who dedicate their careers to improving the nation’s health and wellbeing.

“We need more health workers, especially those who look like and share the experiences of the people they serve. And we need to take care of the people who take care of us – especially their mental health,” said Secretary Becerra. “This initiative will help to elevate workforce projects across the Department, engage with stakeholders, and identify potential policy gaps and opportunities to prioritize.”

“The key to expanding access to high quality healthcare is a well-trained and well-supported health workforce,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “At the Health Resources and Services Administration, we are committed to continuing to grow the critical mentoring, training, financial and mental health and well-being supports that make it possible for people to choose and remain in health profession careers. Our work to fund health professions scholarships, loan repayment, stipends, faculty recruitment and development programs is essential to building the next generation of the health workforce. We are delighted to work together with our colleagues across the Department to support the HHS Health Workforce Initiative.”

HRSA is the agency within HHS that administers numerous programs focused on growing, diversifying and supporting the health workforce, with a particular focus on meeting the healthcare needs of underserved and rural communities. The President’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget prioritizes funding for the vital mandatory healthcare workforce programs – the National Health Service Corps and the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program – that support the recruitment and development of clinicians to deliver community-based care through loan repayment, scholarships, and residency training. HRSA’s budget also prioritizes investments in growing the nursing and behavioral health workforce, as well as supporting innovative workforce programs that would foster new approaches in workforce development and training.

HHS’ Initiative includes a coordinated Department-wide effort to identify opportunities to improve health workforce recruitment and retention, and career advancement, with equity at the center of this work. It will help to elevate workforce programs and activities across the Department, engage with stakeholders, and identify opportunities to further advance federal efforts to support the workforce.

Throughout the summer, the Initiative will continue to highlight programs aimed at strengthening the health workforce recruitment and prioritize the need to renew and extend the National Health Service Corps and the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program.

HHS has the release.

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