Provider Shortage


A Health Training Program Everyone Likes But…

By Richard Kipling, CHCF Center for Health Reporting

(Flickr: Alec Couros)

(Flickr: Alec Couros)

The past couple years, we’ve witnessed a seeming contradiction in state health policy.

On the one hand, we’ve had an unending march of state health programs to the budgetary cutting block, victims of California’s impoverished financial condition; on the other, that same state government has busily prepared for the Affordable Care Act, set to hit ground in January 2014.

While glancing at data on the website of the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (better known as OSHPD), I thought I’d found a program that was another example of California preparing for reform and decided to dig deeper.

Its moniker, Cal-SEARCH, stands for Student/Resident Experiences and Rotations in Community Health. Its description reads like a perfect fit for this health-reform, getting-health-providers-to-underserved-communities world we’ve entered.

Cal-SEARCH, its literature says, “will provide funded training opportunities for health professional students and residents statewide” who are enrolled in one of 15 programs ranging from primary care residencies to clinical psychology to clinical social work. Those who qualify “will serve a 4-8 week, 80-hour minimum, clinical rotation in CCHCs (community clinics and health centers) and complete a community project.” Continue reading