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GW Launches Unique Health Workforce Research and Policy Institute

Milken Institute School of Public Health-based Center Will Tackle Health Workforce Issues

September 17, 2015
Kathy Fackelmann: [email protected], 202-994-8354
Emily Grebenstein: [email protected], 202-994-3087

WASHINGTON (September 17, 2015)—George Washington University (GW) today launched the GW Health Workforce Institute, a one-of-a-kind chartered institute that hopes to bolster health workforce policies in the United States and around the world.
The institute, which is based at Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH), is a collaborative effort that involves the work more than 30 faculty members and staff at Milken Institute SPH and five other GW schools including: the School of Medicine and Health Sciences; the School of Nursing; the School of Business; the Graduate School of Education and Human Development; and the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration. The group represents an array of disciplines including health policy, economics, anthropology, health services research, medicine, nursing and other areas and thus will bring a cross-disciplinary perspective to the institute’s mission.
“A robust and well-trained workforce is an essential component of an effective health care system,” says Fitzhugh Mullan, the Murdock Head Professor of Medicine and Health Policy, a joint position at Milken Institute SPH and SMHS. “The institute hopes to advance the development of policies that address the quality, supply, distribution and use of the health care workforce to improve access to high-quality and affordable care.” Mullan co-directs the new institute along with Patricia (Polly) Pittman, associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Milken Institute SPH.
The institute’s work focuses on the following three pillars of research, convening and education and it will strive to:
Engage major public and private stakeholders in the United States and around the world to discuss research needs, facilitate dialogue and build consensus.
Develop and offer education and training opportunities for health professionals at all levels as well as for health policy leaders.
Build better workforce data and analysis and evaluate current workforce policies, practices and needs both domestically and globally.
The principal faculty of the institute have managed research portfolios of about $7 million in recent years.  Support for the institute has come from government and private donors including the National Institutes of Health, MacArthur Foundation, Health Resources and Services Administration, The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Milbank Memorial Fund, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and others.
The institute, which is located in the heart of Washington, D.C., just miles from the White House, the U.S. Congress, the World Bank, the Pan American Health Organization, and many federal agencies, includes many experts who have testified before congressional committees and presented their research on workforce policy issues at a wide range of forums both in the U.S. and internationally.  The institute positions GW as a leader in the development of health care workforce policies, which have become increasingly important in an era of global competition and health care reform.
“The institute was founded with the hope of providing solutions for gaps in the current health workforce including shortages in certain geographical areas/specialties, issues of global migration and equity between developed and developing nations,” said Pittman. “In addition, our work will focus on the tensions and opportunities afforded by new clinical disciplines and task shifting, as well as issues of worker abuse that arise when nurses and other health professionals are recruited from developing nations.”
The U.S. seemed poised to take steps to remedy some of the issues with the health care workforce with passage of the Affordable Care Act, which called for the creation of a National Health Workforce Commission.  Unfortunately, the commission was never funded, leaving a void which the GW institute hopes to fill with research on a variety of pressing topics including a growing need for teamwork; the impact of new technologies on the organization of work in hospitals and other settings; and the societal and geographic inequities in the distribution of doctors, nurses and other health professionals.
Read more about the GW Health Workforce Institute here
About Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University
Established in July 1997 as the School of Public Health and Health Services, Milken Institute School of Public Health is the only school of public health in the nation’s capital. Today, more than 1,700 students from almost every U.S. state and 39 countries pursue undergraduate, graduate and doctoral-level degrees in public health. The school also offers an online Master of Public Health, [email protected], and an online Executive Master of Health Administration, [email protected], which allow students to pursue their degree from anywhere in the world.