Regional Workshops Explore Healthcare Workforce Solutions

During the past three months, NGA’s Healthcare Delivery and Postsecondary Education teams convened teams from 20 states and territories in a series of regional workshops as part of the Next Generation of the Healthcare Workforce project. These workshops brought together healthcare and workforce leaders to engage in regional discussions focused on common healthcare workforce challenges, hear from industry experts and develop innovative solutions. Each meeting also featured a session led by an official from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) focused on how states and territories can best work with the administration and draw upon existing resources to support retention and recruitment efforts.

The east regional workshop was held May 24-25, in Washington, D.C. at Boston Consulting Group’s DC office. This workshop brought together seven project states for two days of interactive programming. Session topics included interstate licensure compacts, healthcare workforce data and planning, and recruitment efforts. Participants heard from a number of experts and NGA partners including the Council for State Governments, the Children’s Hospital Association, Boston Consulting Group, Veritas Health Solutions, HRSA, and the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association.

On June 6-7, the Healthcare Delivery and Postsecondary Education teams at NGA, together with the Wyoming state healthcare workforce team, hosted the second regional workshop in Jackson, Wyoming. The workshop brought together six states and one territory for two days of sessions that included opening welcome video remarks from Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon, presentations on Wyoming’s recruitment initiatives, an overview of Utah’s Office of Professional Licensure Review, and a presentation on healthcare workforce data and planning strategies. Participants heard from speakers from HRSA, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, St. John’s Health Hospital, the Hughes Charitable Foundation and Becoming Jackson Whole.

The Central workshop was held July 27-28, in Chicago, Illinois, at Deloitte. This meeting was comprised of six states and featured team workshops as well as presentations from subject matter experts that provided key insights on a variety of issues. Representatives from the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago discussed pediatric healthcare workforce challenges and presented innovative solutions to build the healthcare workforce. Deloitte spoke about preparing for the healthcare workforce of the future. HRSA Region 5 Administrator Commander Sharyl Trail shared lived experience as a behavioral healthcare provider working in rural areas and provided insights on how state project teams can work with the HRSA regional offices as they engage in strategic planning for building the healthcare workforce in their states. State teams also engaged in peer-to-peer discussions on data and planning, future goals and shared best practices.

These workshops highlighted vital policy areas within states and started discussions that will help states develop tangible solutions. The discussions will continue to build upon one another as these states and territories from the Next Generation of the Healthcare Workforce project meet at the Healthcare Workforce Summit in Broomfield, Colorado, August 21-23. The summit will bring project teams together for three days of peer-to-peer workshops, panel discussions, breakout sessions and engagement opportunities among healthcare workforce experts. At the conclusion of these meetings, the outcomes from the workshop series and the summit will be featured in a report summarizing the second year of programming for the project. Findings from year one of the project can be found in the recently released report Preparing the Next Generation of the Healthcare Workforce: State Strategies for Recruitment and Retention.

This commentary was written by NGA Staff Abigail Judstra, Anna Heard, Eli McCabe, and Charlie Schonberger. For more information on the Next Generation of the Healthcare Workforce Project, please contact Anna Heard at