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Allied Health Care Workforce Program Report Assesses Central California Health Minority Workforce

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

Fresno, Calif. (February 12, 2009) – Some of the greatest opportunities for employment in Central California over the next decade are as dental assistants, medical assistants, home health aides and nursing assistants according to the Allied Health Regional Workforce Analysis – Central California report released today by the Allied Health Care Workforce Program. The 98-page report also describes the significant workforce shortages of Latinos, African Americans, Asians/Pacific Islanders and Native Americans in needed areas of health care.
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.
“This report provides substantiated data that workforce planners, counselors and labor specialists within high schools, hospitals, workforce investment boards, health plans and other key partners can use as a tool for shaping the face of our future health care workforce,” said Susan Chapman, Ph.D., R.N., director, Allied Health Workforce Studies, Center for the Health Professions, University of California, San Francisco. “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:
  • Allied health employment opportunities will be greatest in Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare counties.
  • Latino health care workers are concentrated in the segment of the health care workforce that consists of mainly low paying, entry-level occupations.
  • Latino health care workers had the lowest median wages in 2006.
  • Certain Asian groups are not well-represented among the region’s health care workers including the Hmong, Laotian and Cambodian populations.
  • A single year of education in a private, for-profit institution can cost in excess of $20,000 per year, compared with the roughly $1,200 per year it costs to attend a California community college.
“We hope this data provides the necessary information to support the development of a culturally and linguistically competent health workforce in the Central California,” said Robert K. Ross, M.D., president and CEO of The California Endowment. “The supply and composition of the health workforce are key ingredients in maintaining and improving the health status of individual patients from underserved and diverse communities.”
To download the Allied Health Workforce Analysis – Central California report, visit the Publications/Culturally Competent Health Systems/Work Force Diversity section of 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.

About The California Endowment
The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, 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. For more information, visit The Endowment's Web site at