Provider Shortage

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In Fresno, High School Program Aims at Lack of Provider Diversity

Graduating seniors from the three Doctors Academy sites in Fresno. Dr. Katherine Flores, founder of the academy, stands in the front row. (Courtesy: Doctors Academy)

Graduating seniors from the three Doctors Academy sites in Fresno. Dr. Katherine Flores, founder of the academy, stands in the front row. Flores grew up in a farmworker family. (Courtesy: UCSF Fresno)

By Alice Daniel, California Healthline

Stephanie Huerta grew up in a farmworker family in rural Caruthers, 15 miles southwest of Fresno. Her parents are from Mexico and neither had the opportunity to finish high school — or in her mom’s case, middle school.

‘You can have a dream but if you don’t have the tools to attain that dream, you’re really stymied.’

At 14, Huerta got pregnant and gave birth at the beginning of her freshman year in high school. Huerta was a very good student and, with the help of a counselor, she got through that school year even while caring for an infant. Her sophomore year, a new program called the Doctors Academy started at Caruthers High School. That was seven years ago, and it changed Huerta’s life.

“Looking back it was the best decision I could have made,” said Huerta, now about to become a college graduate. “I would have still been in Caruthers, maybe going to city college. I would have been pregnant again because that’s the cycle quite honestly. And I would have been too scared to go anywhere,” she added.

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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