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Health Workforce

Ensure a Robust Statewide Health Workforce​​

Leverage the UH System—with its strong health sciences programs as well as faculty, staff, graduates, and students that provide health care services to the people of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific—to address the state’s health care workforce and service needs to include a diverse workforce that reflects the ethnic makeup of our state.

Coordinated the “Hawaiʻi’s Health Workforce Development for the 21st Century” legislative informational briefing.

The “Hawaiʻi’s Health Workforce Development for the 21st Century” legislative informational briefing was co-chaired by Senator Rosalyn Baker, chair of the State Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, and Representative John Mizuno, chair of the State House of Representatives’ Committee on Health, and featured 21 speakers, including local and national experts and important state stakeholders. With the support of UH’s UHealthy Hawaiʻi initiative, the goal of the briefing was to ensure robust community engagement in prioritizing potential cross-sector solutions to Hawaiʻi’s health workforce challenges.

Over 300 people across the state of Hawaiʻi participated in the briefing, including via electronic polling to identify priority solutions. The briefing has resulted in advancements in policy and appropriations proposals, as well as project coordination, to realize selected solutions. Read more here – UH News: Hundreds focus on improving Hawaiʻi’s health workforce

Developed the UHealthy Hawaiʻi Strategic Action Plan for Optimizing Hawaiʻi’s Health Workforce

Hawaiʻi has numerous health workforce shortages, including for the professions of certified nursing assistants, phlebotomists, specialty nurses, social workers, physicians, physical therapists, and many more.  Root causes of these health workforce shortages include issues related to pipeline, recruitment, cost of living, family considerations, debt burden, and more (see bubble graph on the right).

UHealthy Hawaiʻi developed a strategic action plan to leverage the UH System and its public-private partnerships to mobilize action teams to address the root causes of our state’s health workforce shortages. This action plan would establish collaborative, multi-sector, statewide efforts needed for an optimized statewide health workforce in Hawaiʻi where patients have access to the right care at the right time and Hawaiʻi residents are able to work in fulfilling health sector jobs.

root causes - workforce

Served on the steering committee for the Oʻahu Healthcare Sector Partnership’s Health Workforce Initiative.

The Healthcare Workforce Initiative (HWI) is led by the Healthcare Association of Hawaiʻi and is part of the Oʻahu Healthcare Sector Partnership, which is an industry-driven, academia-supported partnership to address areas of interest to the health industry.  The HWI focuses on understanding and addressing Hawaiʻi’s health workforce needs and produced a comprehensive report in August 2019 (link HERE).  The result has been increased coordination of UH health sciences programs in response to a renewed focus on meeting health industry needs and ensuring a robust statewide health workforce.  There has also been further engagement on expanding the reach of UH’s health sciences programs to the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities.

For more information, please contact Jean Isip Schneider, Associate Director of Sector Partnerships at or (808) 956-7278.


Catalyzed planning for a new Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at UH Mānoa.

Recognizing the need for physical therapists in the state of Hawaiʻi from the Healthcare Workforce Initiative, UHealthy Hawaiʻi established a work group with UH and community/industry partners to explore the need for and opportunities to create a UH DPT program. After submission of a proposal and approval from UH President David Lassner, the DPT program is in its early planning phases, led by the UH Mānoa College of Education, which houses the Kinesiology & Rehabilitation Science department.

Photos by Deborah Manog Dimaya and Joshua Dimaya

Advanced the funding request for new JABSOM medical student cohort on Maui.

The 2020 supplemental operating budget request for UH included $1.4 million to establish a medical education and residency support program on Maui. The funds would have allowed to create a fully developed program to train a cohort of approximately five to six students each, through all four years of medical school training. This funding was initially included in the supplemental budget by the UH Board of Regents, Governor, and House prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UH-DOH Contact Tracing Training Program

The UHealthy Hawaiʻi initiative led the UH side of the Department of Health (DOH)- University of Hawaiʻi (UH) Contact Tracing Training Program in response to the stateʻs COVID-19 pandemic efforts. From June-October 2020, Tracks 1 and 2 of the program trained more than 500 individuals statewide. Many serve on contact tracing teams for the DOH or other organizations, in roles such as first callers, contact tracers, or disease investigators, and play an important part in the state’s COVID-19 response. Additionally, the third arm of the Contact Tracing Training Program aims to train over 130 Community Health Workers (CHWs), which have significant potential to improve community-based health care delivery and address social determinants of health during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.


UHealthy Hawaiʻi – The University of Hawaiʻi's Commitment to a Healthier Hawaiʻi and Pacific