Dr. Sunita Mutha, Director of Healthforce Center at UCSF: Bridging Cultural Gaps to Provide Better Care

Dr. Sunita Mutha thinks if health care providers consistently asked themselves one question, it would lead to reducing health disparities based on race, income and other factors: “Who does this advantage, and who does this disadvantage?” In her extensive research at the intersection of health disparities and quality improvement, she’s come to understand there are predictable things providers do that influence inequities in care. Looking at the current COVID vaccine rollout provides a fresh example. “If your main strategy is to reach out to patients electronically, it leaves out people who don’t have online access, who might be monolingual, who might be elderly and isolated. You could have predicted who you would leave out by the strategies you chose to use.” As director of Healthforce Center at the University of California San Francisco, Mutha works with organizations nationwide to reduce disparities and build a culturally-competent workforce, but also to address a wide range of other challenges in healthcare, from the impact of electronic health records to nurse staffing ratios. As she explains to Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan in this episode of WorkforceRx, training emerging leaders is another special focus at Healthforce Center. “They are the glue that keeps an organization functioning and effective. They mobilize the frontline teams. So, in our training we try to instill in them both confidence and skills so they can be really effective.” Check out this episode for an expert view of current and future workforce challenges in healthcare, and the role of research and capacity-building to meet them.

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Howard Brodsky, CEO of CCA Global Partners: Capitalism with a Heart

What if there was something business owners could do to boost employee retention 65%, increase worker loyalty and perfectly align company and employee goals? Oh, and by the way, give people a sense of hope and increase their wealth at the same time? Well, according to Howard Brodsky, that “something” is using a shared ownership model. Brodsky, a globally recognized pioneer in cooperatives, co-founded and leads CCA Global Partners, one of the largest retail companies in America serving over one million family businesses. The profitable $12 billion organization is the parent company for 14 other businesses in flooring, carpeting, lighting and other sectors, including child care. In this revealing conversation with Futuro Health CEO Van Ton- Quinlivan, Brodsky describes creating a new economic environment where instead of subsidies to repair the damage caused by chronically low wages, there is shared ownership and prosperity. “I think there has to be more distribution of wealth at the base level, not distribution after somebody makes a fortune and they decide where they want to give money to. People need opportunity, not subsidies.” Brodsky says the model is much more resilient in tough economic times, too. With an estimated 25-30 percent of family businesses failing in the U.S. during the pandemic, the closure rate among CCA Global’s members is only 1- 2 percent. This is a conversation that will leave you thinking.

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Jamie Merisotis, CEO of Lumina Foundation: The Robot Zombie Apocalypse is Not Coming

“We know from history that technology both creates and destroys jobs, and we don’t know what will happen this time around,” says Jamie Merisotis, author of the new book Human Work in the Age of Machines, “but I do think we should be more interested in the work that humans can do, because that is clearly something we can control by better preparing people for that human work.” That preparation needs to focus on nurturing “foundational human capabilities” that set us apart from machines – compassion, empathy, ethics and creativity to name a few. As he reveals in his book, Merisotis believes the end result can be a collaborative relationship between workers and technology. As President and CEO of Lumina Foundation, Merisotis has been a driving force in increasing access to post-secondary education not only for its economic benefits but because of the role education plays in cultivating the critical thinking essential to a functioning democratic society. Check out this revealing conversation with Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan about rethinking how we can restructure education, work and benefits to better meet the challenges and opportunities upon us.

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Andy Van Kleunen, CEO of National Skills Coalition: Finding Common Ground on Job Growth

As a longtime observer of the Washington political scene and a “go-to” expert on workforce and education policy issues, Andy Van Kleunen thinks that despite the country’s deep political divisions, it’s possible to make generation-defining investments in education and training to spur major employment growth. “There’s not a lot of partisan divide on investing in the retraining of somebody who’s been laid off and now has to look for a new occupation. We’re talking about 80 to 90 percent approval for greater public investments in those kinds of efforts.” Drawing on lessons learned from previous recovery efforts, Van Kleunen believes more needs to be done this time to make sure economic gains are inclusive from a racial and socio-economic standpoint. The organization he leads, National Skills Coalition, also urges policymakers to follow what they have found to be the most effective formula for increasing skills and growing jobs: let localities and states in the nation’s 300-400 regional economies bring stakeholders together to determine where investments should be made. In this timely conversation with Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan, Van Kleunen taps into the knowledge gained from his national network of business, education and labor leaders to share the most effective formulas for economic development in this unique political moment.

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Eva Sage-Gavin, Senior Managing Director of Accenture’s Global Talent & Organization/Human Potential Practice: “The Workforce Has Changed Forever.”

Workers are showing the strains of social isolation, disrupted work and family routines, and sustained anxiety for personal safety — all induced by the pandemic. Fortunately, employers are taking note according to Eva Sage-Gavin, a former Fortune 500 executive who now advises C-suite leaders on talent strategy for Accenture. Sage-Gavin says employers are realizing they need to take a “whole human” approach to HR to navigate through this crisis of human resilience, and address employee needs for connection, relationship, and purpose if they are going to keep their workforce productive. In this revealing episode of WorkforceRx, Sage-Gavin and Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan – who first met a decade ago serving on President Obama’s Skills for America’s Future initiative – discuss a new global partnership to connect displaced workers to jobs, the worrisome “she-cession” as women drop out of the workforce, the enhanced impact of modern boards, and a key ingredient to helping employers solve problems in these extraordinary times.

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Walter Greenleaf, PhD, Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Stanford University: Improving Care with Virtual Environments

When he first started trying to score clinical research data in the mid-1980’s, Stanford University neuroscientist Walter Greenleaf was using a ruler, pen and paper. Now, thanks in part to his pioneering efforts, similar research can be conducted using virtual reality and augmented reality devices. These technologies are also being integrated throughout medicine, including treatment for various mental health issues, a special focus of his. For instance, patients can be exposed to anxieties or fears through carefully designed virtual environments, allowing them to build confidence while clinicians gauge their progress. Greenleaf, a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, also sees broad potential for using virtual environments in workforce development and training, from handling difficult people and situations to bridging cultural gaps. Join Futuro Health’s CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan as she draws fascinating insights from Greenleaf gathered over decades of groundbreaking work in academia, technology development and medical product development, and find out what two skills he believes will open doors for healthcare workers in the decades to come.

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Bryan Hancock, Global Leader of Talent Management at McKinsey & Company: Are You Ready for the Impact of Automation?

Bryan Hancock has spent the last two decades focused on the disconnect between the skilled workers employers need and what is available in the workforce. As Global Leader of McKinsey & Company’s Talent Management Practice, he’s able to tap into the firm’s deep research on workforce trends to advise private and public sector clients and what he’s seeing is an even larger skills gap developing as automation and digitization take over a significant portion of what he calls “the dull and dangerous” work. In fact, McKinsey estimates 30 to 40 percent of all workers in developed countries may need to move into new occupations or at least upgrade their skill sets significantly in the next decade.  Despite that daunting challenge, he’s not discouraged because many large employers are making big investments in employee learning opportunities, and technologies like Virtual Reality are creating fun and effective options for training. He’s also encouraged by growth in the “workforce ecosystem” – independent foundations, companies, and other organizations who are innovating to close gaps in skills and opportunity. Check out this episode of Workforce Rx as Bryan and host Van Ton-Quinlivan explore all of those issues plus the growing importance of soft skills, the impact of the gig economy, and how employers can take a “talent first” approach.

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