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Are we educating an adequate number of allied health workers to meet future needs?

SA Chapman, PhD, V Lindler, MS, and Lorraine Y Woo, BS. Center for the Health Professions, University of California, San Francisco, 3333 California Street, Suite 410, San Francisco, CA 94118, (415) 502-4419, susanac@itsa.ucsf.edu

There are current and projected shortages in several critical allied health professions. Vacancy rates for workers in the clinical laboratory, respiratory therapy, and imaging centers range from 8% to over 15% nationally. Lack of adequate allied health staffing in hospitals and community settings lead to compromised quality of care and increased cost. A study of educational programs was conducted using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the AMA Health Professions: Career and Education Directory. The total number of graduates and graduates per 100,000 population were compared for the 8 most populous states. Findings indicate that many states produce too few graduates to meet current and projected demand for new workers. For example, California produces 508 graduates (1.4/100k population) in radiation technology yet the employment department projects over 700 annual job openings for that position. In contrast, Texas produces 5.0 radiographers/100k population. Similar mismatches between the supply of new workers graduating from educational programs and the demand for new and replacement workers exist in other states and in other allied health occupations. Policy options include increased funding for community college programs, increased use of distance education, and new recruitment strategies and educational support for students.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Associated Health Professionals, Health Care Workers

Related Web page: www.futurehealth.ucsf.edu

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Cultural Competency/Diversity: The Final Frontier in U.S. Healthcare: Academic Preparedness From a Multicultural Point of View

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA