Healthcare reform in the United States has created challenges in matching the education of the healthcare workforce to the needs of local populations, the focus of a one-day conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 21 October 2011 called “Creating the Healthcare Workforce for the 21st Century: A regional creating knowledge-based partnerships conference." The conference was a collaboration between Thomas Jefferson University and the University of Delaware and was attended by nearly 250 health professionals, academicians, members of government, students, and researchers.
Conference planners discovered the Lancet Commission Report while planning the event and used it as a guide in establishing the agenda. The event was designed to better understand and overcome the complex challenges in matching the education of the local healthcare workforce to the needs of the local population in the tri-state area of Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.
“The audience was extremely energized by the topic and presentations and there was a palpable ‘buzz’ among the attendees all day,” commented Alexis Skoufalos, EdD, Associate Dean for Continuing Professional Education at Jefferson School of Population Health.
A Nash on Health Policy blog entry summarizes the day’s discussions.
Challenges highlighted by speakers include:
• training more primary care physicians to care for the millions of additional patients who will have health insurance because of U.S. healthcare reform
• how to better coordinate patient care and cultivate collaborative teams of medical professionals
• creating the transformational change necessary in the education of healthcare professionals
• engaging people in their own health care, for as David B. Nash, MD, MBA, Dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health pointed out, no matter what changes follow healthcare reform, “patients remain at the center of all we do.”