School of Public Health Official Joins National Panel Addressing Shortage of Health Care Workers

Contact: Vincent Reda, 518-437-4985

Edward S. Salsberg, director of the Center for Health Workforce Studies at UAlbany's School of Public Health, today was named to a blue-ribbon commission of national health care leaders assigned to address one of the field's most significant problems: the immediate and long-term shortages of health care personnel.

The formation of the American Hospital Association's (AHA) Commission on Workforce was announced at an AHA Board of Trustees press conference in Washington D.C. on Tuesday.

Salsberg was founding director of the Center for Health Workforce Studies in 1996. It has become one of four centers nationwide receiving federal support to conduct state and region workforce studies. Its numerous ongoing projects relate to assessing, educating, improving technical assistance to and providing new data for the health care workforce. The Center also seeks to improve the effectiveness of the marketplace for health professionals and other health workers.

Before coming to UAlbany, Salsberg was the director of the Bureau of Health Resources Development in the New York State Department of Health. There, for more than 12 years, he helped design and administer health workforce programs and policies for New York. A member of the steering committee for the National Academy for State Health Policy, he has extensive experience in policy-relevant workforce data collection and analysis.

The AHA Workforce Commission is charged with identifying strategies to increase recruitment, retention and development of qualified caregivers and support staff in hospitals and with issuing a final report by April 2002. The report's recommendations will be shared with government leaders and professional groups such as educators, labor and technology leaders.

Commission Chairman Peter W. Butler said: "This is one of the most significant issues facing every hospital. We've recruited leaders from within and outside health care to participate because it will take solutions involving all of us to head off this growing threat."

Combined pressures - a shrinking workforce, an aging population, traditional work designs, changing social attitudes about work, financial concerns, increased demand and other stresses - have translated into a severe personnel deficit in U.S. health care facilities. Though the nursing shortage has received much attention, hospitals also face a decreasing applicant pool of caregivers in general, including pharmacists, technicians, technologists and therapists.

Founded in 1898, the AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that includes nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 37,000 individual members.

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March 27, 2001


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