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Report Findings Project Health Workforce Needs in Bay Area

Latinos, African Americans Underrepresented in Higher Paying
Health Professions Requiring Greater Levels of Educational Investment

Oakland, Calif. (June 1, 2009) –  Some of the greatest opportunities for employment in the Bay Area over the next decade are as dental assistants, medical assistants, home health aides and nursing assistants according to the Allied Health Regional Workforce Analysis – Bay Area report released today by the Allied Health Care Workforce Program. The findings of the 88-page report were discussed at the Bay Area Allied Health Workforce Convening at The California Endowment’s Oakland office.
 
Prepared by the University of California, San Francisco Center for the Health Professions, the report assesses the region’s future health care landscape and its “allied health workforce” – professionals who provide a range of diagnostic, technical, therapeutic direct patient care and support services.
 
“Despite the current economic climate, health care remains a growth industry,” said Susan Chapman, Ph.D., R.N., director, Allied Health Workforce Studies, Center for the Health Professions, University of California, San Francisco. “Now is the time to shape the face of our future health care workforce.
 
“We have an opportunity to anticipate and properly address our future health outcomes and needs before they become challenges.”
 
In addition to serving as a resource in guiding the career paths of California’s communities, this report identifies a job sector that requires needed participation of racially and diverse communities. Such participation would build a culturally sensitive workforce – one that is better equipped to understand the needs of a growing and diverse population, and is then able to provide quality health care to them as well as improve their health outcomes.
 
Twenty-two allied health occupations were selected for a detailed analysis ranging from dental hygienist to mental health counselor. The report includes information on current wage levels and projected occupational employment that can be used to evaluate the relationships among wages, employment opportunities and demographics of the workforce and population in the region.
 
Key findings include:
  • Both Latino and African American health care workers are concentrated in the segment of the health care workforce that consists of mainly low paying, entry-level occupations.
  • The median wage earned by African American and Latino health care workers is roughly $18,000 per year less than Asian health care workers and approximately $30,000 per year less than White health care workers.
  • Higher paying occupations with greater educational requirements are much less racially and ethnically diverse then entry level low paying jobs.
  • Men comprise a third or less of the allied health workforce.
  • The region’s Latino population is younger, earns substantially lower wages and is far more likely to be linguistically isolated as limited English speakers.
  • The Bay Area Region is projected to grown by roughly 1.25 million people over the next two decades. Nearly 90 percent of this growth is projected in Santa Clara County, Contra Costa County and Alameda County.
To download the Allied Health Workforce Analysis – Bay Area report, visit the Publications/Culturally Competent Health Systems/Work Force Diversity section of www.calendow.org. The Allied Health Workforce Analysis is part of a series of regional reports describing the basic components of the allied health workforce supported by The California Endowment.
 
The California Endowment was established in 1996 to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. The Endowment makes grants to organizations and institutions that directly benefit the health and well-being of the people of California. To date, The Endowment has awarded over 10,000 grants across California totaling more than $1.8 billion. For more information, visit The Endowment’s Web site at www.calendow.org.