Rick Brooks, Rhode Island’s Director of Healthcare Workforce Transformation: Creativity Born of Crisis

“Because of the workforce shortages, there is more creativity and more willingness to be innovative, and I think we can make something out of this crisis,” says Rick Brooks, who has his hands full leading Rhode Island’s efforts to strengthen and grow the healthcare workforce. His optimism is based on new levels of engagement by key stakeholders to find solutions and the formation of some unlikely collaborations to bring them to life. “For example, there are partnerships happening between higher education programs that have traditionally viewed each other as competitors to develop agreements that grant credits for non-credit activities,” he tells Futuro Health CEO and WorkforceRx host Van Ton-Quinlivan. He also cites licensure boards being open to rethinking education requirements for nursing faculty and the recredentialing of foreign trained health professionals, and other signs of innovation. In this expansive conversation, Brooks, a veteran labor educator, advocate and leader, shares strategies and insights on a wide array of issues including loan repayment programs, expanding clinical placement opportunities and redesigning career ladders with more, and more achievable, rungs so that people can stay in the healthcare field. It’s an impressive menu of options that might just inspire some creative thinking of your own.

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Dr. Sarita Mohanty, President & CEO of The SCAN Foundation: Collaborative Solutions to Support Aging Well

The growing crisis in homelessness across the US has understandably garnered a lot of news coverage and attention from policymakers, and today’s WorkforceRx guest wants to make sure one key facet of the problem 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 statewide efforts in California that include expanded Medicaid access, moves to professionalize the home care workforce and the formation of Master Plans of Aging (MPA) at the state and local level. “There are some important areas of need that these MPA stakeholders are identifying and then they’re actually advocating at a policy level to get these addressed.” Stay tuned for many more examples of cross-sector collaborations that are accelerating solutions to this critically important problem affecting Americans of all ages.

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