Brooklyn’s Dr. Wayne Riley Among Appointees Tasked to Strengthen Pipeline
State University of New York Chancellor John B. King has convened a SUNY-wide “Future of Health Care Workforce Task Force” to focus on expanding SUNY’s educational capacity in healthcare profession shortage areas. The Force, which includes Brooklyn’s Dr. Wayne Riley, President SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, also is tasked with strengthening the pipeline of students in professions that have been hit the hardest and aligning education with health care needs.
“The ongoing shortage of health care professionals poses a significant long-term threat to our state’s ability to provide high-quality care to New Yorkers, and SUNY is a key part of the solution. As such, we must take immediate and concerted steps to ensure the availability of a highly trained, diverse, and sustainable healthcare workforce,” said SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. “One step, which has already been taken thanks to Governor Hochul and our legislative partners, is to provide nursing students the opportunity to complete one-third of their clinical work in a high-quality simulated environment, which will further enhance their success. Through the input of this task force, SUNY will continue to advocate for expanded innovation for this life-saving industry.”
Chancellor King announced the task force on Sept. 8 while addressing Health WorkForce New York, an organization formed in 2014 to improve access to quality health care in underserved communities.
Task Force members, in addition to Dr. Riley, are SUNY Board Trustees Eric Corngold and Robert J. Duffy; Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger; SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson; SUNY Broome Community College President Tony Hawkins; Monroe Community College President DeAnna R. Burt-Nanna; SUNY Upstate Medical University President Mantosh Dewan, M.D.; and Westchester Community College President Belinda Miles.
Dr. Riley said, “The health care professional and workforce shortage pose significant risks to the quality and accessibility of health care services in New York. Amid rising healthcare costs and a growing aging population, these shortages will disproportionally impact under-resourced, underserved, and working-class communities. By expanding pipeline opportunities and access to the healthcare professions, we can fill the gap and proactively serve a growing population segment. I look forward to working with my fellow task force colleagues to create workable, effective, and scalable recommendations for this fundamental challenge to caring for all New Yorkers.”
Ms. Miles stated the urgency in her community: she said, “The health care workforce shortage in New York State is pressing, especially in Westchester County, where the health care industry is the top-growing sector, projected to increase by 30 percent by 2028. SUNY Westchester is partnering with industry leaders to expand programs, increase collaboration between stakeholders, and foster greater diversity in the workforce. The mission is clear.”
Workgroups within the task force will represent higher education, health care providers and associations, workforce and continuing education, simulation experts, and more. Where applicable, the task force will consult with national experts, organized labor organizations, state agencies, and students.
With a 7.5% share of total healthcare employment across the nation, New York ranks third among all U.S. states in healthcare workforce contribution, positioning the state to experience a more pronounced impact from a shortage of healthcare professionals. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that overall employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations from 2021 to 2031.
In related news, Governor Hochul last week announced more than $7.7 million in funding to support innovative healthcare programs at four State medical schools. Distributed through the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports, this new workforce development program will aid 83 New York State fellows with professional healthcare experience to gain training “to best meet the needs of New Yorkers impacted by addiction.” The awardees include SUNY Upstate Medical University – $3,562,69; New York University Grossman School of Medicine – $2,397,908; Albert Einstein College of Medicine – $921,833; and The Research Foundation for the State University of New York on behalf of the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences – $864,627.
SUNY educates over 40,000 students through degree-granting healthcare profession programs. More than 11,000 health professionals graduate each year from a SUNY institution.
Bernice Elizabeth Green