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Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan interviews national leaders and innovators for insights into creating a future-focused workforce.

There has never been a stronger need for workers to adapt. To keep up with the speed of change, we must be prepared to shift into new job roles and pick up new skills. Traditional approaches no longer suffice. Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan interviews future-focused leaders in education, workforce and healthcare, who explore new innovations and approaches. We will need to draw on our collectively ingenuity to uncover ways to develop work, workers, and economic opportunity.

If you would love to know what’s on the minds of the leaders of the nation’s largest health systems as they tackle workforce challenges and a host of other issues, then this episode of WorkforceRx is for you. The well-placed source supplying this intelligence is Renee DeSilva, CEO of The Health Management Academy which provides advice, research, knowledge sharing, and leadership development for hospitals and other healthcare companies. DeSilva is encouraged by the energy and innovation she’s seeing around solutions such as upskilling current employees, leaning into skills-based hiring, and creating talent pipelines with local educators. “I’m seeing a lot of creativity and partnership energy around solving the workforce challenge structurally, and then also just making the folks that we do have more productive and creating more of a thriving environment around them,” she tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan. You’ll leave this conversation with a better sense of the paths being taken to the future of care and the tactics leaders are using to get there.
Evolving employee expectations for working conditions and years of a tight labor market have created steady challenges for human resources professionals. We’ll take a look at some of those key problems and their solutions on this episode of WorkforceRx with Wendi Safstrom, president of the SHRM Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the world’s largest HR professional society. “We’re problem-solving based on research with the goal to help HR pros get better and help them lead positive social change in the workplace,” Safstrom tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan. That change includes ensuring health equity at work, providing support for mental health needs and adopting a “skills-first” approach to hiring, which can provide opportunity to populations who have often been shut out of the hiring process. In this informative conversation, Wendi also addresses the use of AI in hiring, the need for HR staff to attend to their own mental health, and the free resources SHRM makes available to employers of all sizes.
For those concerned about teacher burnout and retention issues in K-12 education, Curtis Johnson has seen an innovative model that could provide an answer: let teachers run the schools. Johnson, a veteran educator, policy analyst and author, says there are already several hundred such schools in twenty-three states. During interviews for his book A New Deal for Teachers, he heard consistent messages about improved professional and personal fulfillment. “These schools hold on to most all of their teachers every year,” he tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan. Johnson is attracted to ideas that upend what he considers failing models of education, as you might expect from the co-author of Disrupting Class, which argues for shifting to a personalized and mastery-based approach. Tune in for a candid conversation about breaking the grip of centralized systems, how K-12 education should incorporate AI, and why he believes up to half of colleges and universities in the US will close in the next decade.
Employees today have high expectations for compensation, the quality of their work experience, and the level of work-life balance. Our WorkforceRx guest, David Jarrard, adds a key item to that list: they also expect to have a voice when organizations make important decisions and that means leaders have to create opportunities for dialogue. “There’s ways for ideas to be shared back and forth so that even if the ideas that are shared aren’t the ones that are adopted, there was a sense of being heard,” he tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan. To build trust and boost employee engagement, Jarrard advises that leaders should rely less on digital communications tools and instead dip into some old school techniques that leverage the ‘human touch.’ Tune in to learn what those are and for an array of other insights from a seasoned pro that more than 1,000 healthcare organizations across forty-five states have turned to for guidance on how to communicate with internal and external audiences about high stakes issues.
Workforce development as a tool for economic empowerment and social justice is in the DNA of Philadelphia OIC, and it is a philosophy that its leader, Sheila Ireland, is building on as she tackles persistently high rates of poverty and unemployment in what is ranked as the poorest big city in America. As she tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan, Ireland believes the formula for success has to include high expectations of clients and private sector partners who can move trainees beyond the first rung of the career ladder. Tune in for a candid discussion of best practices in workforce training and stay tuned to hear about positive signs in Philadelphia of growing job opportunities in the tech sector and higher ed institutions being more responsive to the needs of lower-income students.
In the battle against declining enrollments and declining perceptions of value, higher education organizations need to be flexible and meet employers and students where they are, says today’s WorkforceRx guest Karilyn Van Oosten. Her company, Unitek Learning, is doing that literally by bringing its educational offerings on site to healthcare organizations in what it calls a “school in the box” model. Join Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan for a compelling conversation in which Van Oosten explains how that works, and also shares her insights on stackable credentials, ‘learn and earn’ models, and other signs of flexibility in workforce training programs that are trying to produce the healthcare providers we all need.
Rick Brooks has his hands full leading Rhode Island’s efforts to strengthen and grow its healthcare workforce, but he is seeing signs of new partnerships and creativity born of the crisis in staffing being faced by all states. Examples include collaboration among traditionally competitive higher ed institutions, and reconsideration of credentialing for nursing faculty and foreign trained health professionals, among other signs of innovation. In this expansive conversation with Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan, Brooks shares strategies and insights on a wide array of issues from loan repayments to clinical placements to redesigning career ladders. It’s an impressive menu of options that might just inspire some creative thinking of your own.
Today’s WorkforceRx guest wants to make sure one key facet of the growing problem of homelessness is not overlooked as solutions are discussed. “There’s a lot of over-representation of older people in the homelessness rates, and older Black Californians — and this is a staggering statistic — are five times more likely to become homeless than their white counterparts,” says Dr. Sarita Mohanty, president and CEO of The SCAN Foundation, whose work is centered in the nexus of age, poverty and equity. As one of the largest foundations in the US focused on improving the quality of health and life for older adults, The SCAN Foundation supports a wide variety of initiatives to address the complex factors preventing many Americans from aging well. On this episode, Dr. Mohanty shares some positive notes with Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan about cross-sector collaborations that are accelerating solutions to this critically important problem affecting Americans of all ages.
Because state departments of health play a huge role in America’s healthcare system, the workforce challenges they face have broad implications. On this episode of WorkforceRx, Paula Nickelson, Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, shares strategies from student loan reform to expanding physician residencies to better data management that she hopes will bend the curve on this crisis. Join Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan for an insightful state-level perspective on workforce and health system challenges confronting the entire nation.
“If I looked at higher education writ large, as we’ve traditionally defined it, I’d say that the patient is sick right now,” says Michael Horn, a prominent national voice on reimagining education at both the K-12 and post-secondary levels. His prescriptions include thoughtful, learner-centered use of online instruction, getting schools to focus more on improving learning models, and moving to a competency-based approach. Join Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan as she explores Horn’s disruptive innovations to address those issues as well as organizational model change, social-emotional deficits and new learning options in higher education. And be sure to stay tuned for a sneak peek at Horn’s next book which focuses on how to develop a deeper sense of what you’re looking for when changing jobs or careers.
Doctors who realize that creating a local jobs program can be as important to helping their patients as writing a prescription have the kind of broad perspective that today’s WorkforceRx guest wants all health providers to adopt. “I think that context is oftentimes lost on providers in medical school or nursing school where they’re not connecting the patient to the entire context of their lives,” says Dr. Sriram Shamasunder, co-founder of the Health Equity Action and Leadership initiative at UC San Francisco. Each class of HEAL Fellows includes a mix of doctors from the US, Navajo Nation and the Global South. “It’s this really incredible learning community where they’re doing clinical and project work to become better advocates and better leaders,” he tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan. Tune in for a thoughtful look at using medicine as a way to establish trust in resource-denied communities and how HEAL is a potential solution to address vacancies in Native communities.
It’s estimated that less than 5% of employees use company-sponsored tuition benefits, and according to Dr. David Ferreira, paying the upfront cost of tuition is high on the list. That’s why he is launching a program at Charter Oak State College, inspired by an idea in Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan’s book WorkforceRx, that turns the traditional tuition reimbursement model on its head. “There’s no money out of pocket for the employee, there’s no cost on the employer side because they’ll be reimbursed, and Charter Oak is going to get more students.” Get all the details, learn about the program’s ‘all you can eat’ design, and find out how employers are reacting to the idea in this eye-opening conversation.
Like all states, California is facing a shortage of physicians but today’s WorkforceRx guest says the definition of shortage needs to go beyond just numbers to include their practice location and cultural diversity. “Oftentimes, we don’t have enough access to physicians in particular areas or to culturally dynamic physicians,” says Lupe Alonzo-Diaz, president and CEO of Physicians for a Healthy California. As she explains to Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan, PHC tackles the issue by expanding physician training opportunities in underserved areas and by incentivizing early career physicians and dentists to accept Medicaid patients through loan forgiveness. “ This engaging conversation also explores trends in team-based care and previews a new report on how physicians who are women of color fared during the pandemic.
In the struggle to fill ongoing gaps in healthcare staffing, the days of waiting for people to apply for openings are over, says human resources veteran Laura Beeth. “We’re going out deeply into the communities, especially communities with high social determinants of health, and really working partnerships to help them move into healthcare careers,” says the vice president for Workforce Partnerships at Fairview Health Services, which is the second largest private employer in Minnesota. In this episode of WorkforceRx, Beeth and Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan share useful strategies on leveraging learn-and-earn programs, reducing employee education costs, diversifying the workforce and the need for a more open-minded approach to hiring. Tune in for a valuable dose of wisdom from the woman known as ‘the godmother of healthcare workforce development.’
Historic investments in infrastructure and combatting climate change are having an impact on the job market with some economists forecasting the creation of millions of jobs over the next decade. Harnessing these investments to boost economic mobility is a key focus of our WorkforceRx guest, Rachel Korberg, executive director and co-founder of the Families and Workers Fund, a coalition of philanthropies led by the Ford Foundation and Schmidt Futures. “We’re all working together with the idea that this is a really once in a generation opening to advance economic mobility for all,” she tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan. Join us for a fascinating look at an innovative collective impact model that aims to create upwardly mobile careers for one million people, and learn how frontline workers are helping to decide how millions of dollars are invested in this effort.
The use of simulation in healthcare training used to be confined to actors posing as patients and the use of medical mannequins. But the options have grown far beyond that to include 3D virtual reality, augmented reality, and game-based learning, among other approaches. On this episode of WorkforceRx, we’re going to get an overview of the space with one of its leading experts, Dr. Parvati Dev, CEO of SimTabs. Dr. Dev has four decades of experience developing tech solutions for life sciences education in industry and academia, including groundbreaking work at Stanford University. Join Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan for this enlightening conversation in which Dr. Dev offers advice on how to decide when simulation is the right tool, shares her views on the extent to which simulation can replace in-person clinical training, and offers a vision for how, with the help of AI, an ecosystem of training tools can be created to move the industry to a higher level of impact.
Learning loss, declining enrollments and increases in behavioral problems are just a few of the issues education leaders are grappling with as the new school year begins. Our WorkforceRx guest, Carissa Moffat Miller, is in the thick of efforts to help school system leaders find potential solutions as CEO of the Council of Chief State School Officers. “The pandemic disruption has created an opportunity for us to think about things differently, and for state chiefs to change the ecosystem of school,” she tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan. Tune in to hear examples of new approaches to tutoring, after school programs and digital learning and to learn what role employers can play in supporting state education goals.
“Healthcare is just so large and complex and expensive. We’ve got to find better ways to reach across political divides, ideological disagreements and narrow, sector-based perspectives,” says Tanya Harris, who runs the Health Innovators Fellowship at the Aspen Institute which is designed to do just that. The program provides a diverse group of mid-career professionals with the opportunity to do the kind of connecting and thinking that’s not possible in the rush of daily life. “People take bigger bets in their own professional journey than they might have otherwise,” she explains to Futuro Heath CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan in this engaging conversation about efforts to foster greater coordination in the U.S. healthcare system and the importance of aligning incentives to achieve better outcomes.
There’s a proven but underutilized solution for some of the toughest challenges facing today’s US labor market, including a lack of skilled workers and inequitable access to well-paying jobs: apprenticeships. That’s according to our WorkforceRx guest, Dr. Mardy Leathers of Apprenticeships for America who discusses how to help employers set them up and use them and what barriers remain to their wider adoption with Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan. A key strategy to boost their number is the expansion of intermediaries — organizations that design apprenticeship programs and provide support to learners and employers. “Employers can’t do it on their own. If someone can help them navigate the process, they are much more likely to lean in.” Don’t miss a great learning opportunity that might change your perceptions about apprenticeships and their value to employers.
Worsening staff shortages in healthcare are prompting big shifts in how New Mexico’s hospitals are approaching the issue as we’ll hear in this episode of WorkforceRx from Troy Clark, President & CEO of the New Mexico Hospital Association. First, a traditionally competitive mindset is yielding to a more collaborative approach, something they saw working during the pandemic. Additionally, his members are realizing they have substantial disadvantages in competing against hospitals in other states for a limited supply of workers, so they are adopting a “grow your own” strategy instead. Tune in as Troy and Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan explore solutions that include expanding clinical learning opportunities, encouraging community colleges to leverage remote learning technologies and getting more people from a diverse set of communities interested in healthcare careers in the first place.

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