Finding Hope marked TIME’s launch of the event series. Featured speakers included Mullan Institute Distinguished Fellow Dr. Leana Wen, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Angelina Jolie, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, the singer John Legend, journalist Katie Couric, epidemiologist Dr. Larry Brilliant, artist and photographer JR and president of the Rockefeller Foundation Rajiv J. Shah.
Mullan Institute team members, Candice Chen, Patricia Pittman, Edward Salsberg, Clese Erickson, and Sara Westergaard co-author this Health Affairs piece that frames the health care service response to COVID-19 and the health workforce needs. The article outlines workforce strategies to protect, maximize, and expand the health workforce to respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic. It outlines five considerations for implementing COVID-19 health workforce strategies for implementation. Read the full article.
Milken Institute School of Public Health, Beyond Flexner Alliance Announce 2021 Awards for Excellence in Social Mission in Health Professions Education
WASHINGTON, DC (April 20, 2020) —The Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University and the Beyond Flexner Alliance today announced the selection of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Awards for Excellence in Social Mission in Health Professions Education.
The purpose of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Awards is to recognize outstanding leadership in promoting social mission in health professions education. Social mission is defined as activities or initiatives that teach, model, or improve community engagement, diversity, disparities reduction, value-based care, or engagement with the social determinants of health. Social mission enhancement means making programs not only better, but fairer.
This year’s nomination process was highly competitive with nearly double the number of submissions. The awards will be presented in five categories: individual excellence, program excellence, institutional excellence, lifetime achievement and a new category recognizing an early career rising star.
Robert M. Rock, MD
Robert Rock co-created a one-of-a-kind course at Yale on health disparities for PA, MD, and APRN programs. The course intentionally includes interprofessional educators and led to the creation of an interdisciplinary student group for all graduate students, faculty, and the New Haven public for community building and action toward health equity. His efforts have helped to create a sense of belonging and empowerment for students who carry identities traditionally not exemplified in medicine.
Joseph Kiesler, MD
Joseph Kiesler’s commitment to equity and social justice has inspired thousands of learners and faculty. From providing care to the homeless and backside racetrack workers to his leadership in establishing a national model of interprofessional service learning at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Kiesler is a true champion of the core values of social mission in education.
Green Family Foundation Neighborhood Health Education Learning Program
Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Miami, FL
The Green Family Foundation Neighborhood Health Education Learning Program (NeighborhoodHELP) at Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine demonstrates national leadership in integrating social accountability and interprofessional education through a service-learning experience in underserved communities. NeighborhoodHELP is a household-centered care approach that highlights a social mission in health professions education while caring for vulnerable populations.
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) is a beacon of hope for students who wish to pursue a career in health professions and advocate for those whose voices are silenced. Formed from the ashes of the Watts Riots of 1966, CDU has graduated more than 575 physicians, 1,200 physician assistants, and over 1,000 nursing professionals. With a mission of academic excellence coupled with community responsibility, CDU develops students into change agents who are poised to be champions of health equity.
George Blue Spruce, Jr., DDS, MPH
George Blue Spruce, Jr., DDS, MPH, the first Native American Dentist in the United States, realizes that as a trailblazer he bears the responsibility of illuminating the health professions pathway for American Indian children who are unaware the path exists. He has dared American Indian children to become a dentist, and his unique leadership has left a legacy promoting social mission in health professions education.
The awards will be presented at the Beyond Flexner 2021 Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., at a special recognition event the evening of April 26, 2021. The Beyond Flexner Conference is a comprehensive meeting for health professionals working to create a more equitable health care system for all.
Each awardee receives $2000 and a commemorative plaque. The awards are supported by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the education of health professionals for a healthier public.
The Beyond Flexner Alliance is a national movement, focused on health equity and training health professionals as agents of more equitable health care, based at the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity at Milken Institute SPH.
WASHINGTON, DC (April 16, 2020) – As the U.S. healthcare workforce struggles to care for a rise in COVID-19 cases, there are growing reports that there are not enough workers to meet the surge in demand. Some hospitals are reporting they do not have enough respiratory therapists to operate ventilators. And rising numbers of nurses and other health care workers in New York and other states have fallen ill and are quarantined, or simply unable to report to work due to family needs.
To meet the potentially explosive demand for healthcare workers, researchers at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) have created a novel tool that will help states and the federal government estimate the need for health care workers under different scenarios of patient infection rates and health worker attrition. The estimates provided by the new tool will help state and federal pandemic experts plan for large spikes in illness and potential shortfalls of key ICU personnel, such as respiratory therapists, intensivists, critical care nurses and others.
“This pandemic has put extraordinary pressure on our health workforce,” said Patricia (Polly) Pittman, PhD, director of the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity, which is based at Milken Institute SPH. “Our interactive tool will help identify potential worker shortages during peaks in demand. Ultimately, the information gleaned from this model will pave the way toward solutions to anticipate and prevent problem by shoring up just-in-time capacity.”
Using data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation on the projected demand for services, and data from the American Hospital Association and publicly available datasets to estimate supply, Pittman and her colleagues looked at the availability of respiratory therapists and intensivists trained to work with critically ill patients. They also plan to prepare analyses of five additional professions, all needed to care for COVID-19 patients. The tool assumes surge capacity professional to patient ratios, and allows users to modify health worker attrition rates based on local information to show potential deficits in staffing.
When the team plugged in estimates for respiratory therapists needed during the COVID crisis they found that five states (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Michigan) are at risk for not having enough of these workers even under the lowest COVID demand scenario and no workforce attrition. An additional 12 states are at risk for not having enough respiratory therapists under the mean demand scenario without any workforce attrition.
As for intensivists, three states (Louisiana, New Jersey, and New York) are at risk for not having enough even at the lowest COVID demand scenario and no workforce attrition. Ten states are at risk for not having enough intensivists under the mean demand scenario without any workforce attrition.
While other models have estimated the need for hospitalization, beds or respirators during the pandemic, this is the first tool to estimate potential health workforce deficits and surpluses, said Pittman, who is also Professor of Health Workforce Equity at Milken Institute SPH.
The tool could help state and federal policy leaders prioritize efforts to meet demands during the COVID pandemic. For example, New York and Illinois are aggressively reaching out to retired health professionals to find those willing to come back into the workforce and help out during the crisis. Other states are considering waiving training requirements or extending licensure expiration dates through the end of the pandemic.
Once the pandemic has passed, the modeling tool could be adapted to anticipate workforce needs for other emerging epidemics.
“The virus that causes COVID-19 will not be the last time we see a relatively unknown disease-causing virus start spreading in a potentially explosive manner,” Pittman said. “This tool will help public health, state and federal leaders plan for the healthcare workforce we all need to keep us all safe during this pandemic and in the future.”
To find out more about the tool and view an interactive map of shortage states click here.
The State Health Workforce Deficit Estimator is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $450,000 with zero percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.