George Mason University establishes the Mason Center for the Health Workforce

GMU Nurses

Fairfax, VA – George Mason University has established the Mason Center for the Health Workforce to address the shortage of and immediate need for health workers in Virginia. Directed by PJ Maddox and Caroline Sutter, the Center will support the development and delivery of public/private strategies to optimize physical and behavioral health careers education and post-graduate skill training. The Center will also serve as a technical assistance center for health workforce research, program evaluation, planning and analysis for government agencies, academic entities, and professional organizations. 

“A competent health workforce is a critical asset for fielding essential health/public health services in all communities,” said Maddox, Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Administration and Policy. “Mason’s commitment to providing access to higher education and its commitment to service to the Commonwealth make it the right home for the Virginia Health Workforce Center.”

The center will build on work currently funded by the Claude Moore Community Foundation for early health workforce development, supporting the Claude Moore Scholars program and providing technology and services that enhance existing education and training pathways to employment programs in Virginia. The Scholars program, which works with 46 school systems in Virginia, is designed to introduce young people to healthcare careers and help them get the necessary education and training that will enable them to become employable in meaningful jobs upon completion of high school.

The Center also provides data on health workforce, supports teachers, and does program evaluation. It is poised to take on a larger role in support of healthcare workforce in the Commonwealth.

“The current health workforce crisis in Virginia—exacerbated by COVID-19—demonstrates the need to think strategically about how we attract talent to healthcare, how we educate and train workers, and how we make healthcare jobs more appealing in terms of work environment and career opportunities,” said Bill Hazel, Senior Deputy Executive Director of Claude Moore. “The Center for Health Workforce is a collaborative effort that will provide support to leaders around the Commonwealth as these issues are addressed.”

The Mason Center for the Health Workforce will grow the Virginia (physical and behavioral) health workforce pipeline, support public/private agency, cross-sector commitment and resource sharing for workforce development; develop innovative curricula, training and delivery methods that support increased access to education for (physical and behavioral) health careers and career advancement; and evaluate the impact of workforce development programs relative to demand and investments for expanding workforce supply.

“The need for well-trained health professionals, across disciplines and among fields, is one of the most critical issues facing communities in Virginia and throughout the nation. These challenges have been exacerbated during the COVID crisis,” Mason Provost and Executive Vice President Mark R. Ginsberg said. “I am confident that our new Center will help to address these critical challenges and also provide opportunities for continuing professional education for the health workforce in the Commonwealth.”

Moving forward, the Center will provide robust administrative support and infrastructure for core work activities that are conducted through data analysis and research; training and education; and integration and innovation. Learn more at the Center’s website:  https://vahlthwf.gmu.edu/

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