Custodio, Ricardo

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    The University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu Undergraduate Health Science Program: Training the Workforce of the Future
    (University Health Partners of Hawai‘i, 2019-05) Custodio, Ricardo
    Hawai‘i faces a significant healthcare workforce shortage, not only with physicians, but also with health science workers. “Health science” is a hands-on field that combines biomedical and psychosocial aspects of health, disease, and health care. Many of the fastest-growing jobs are in the health sciences, including home health aides, physical therapists, school counselors, and social workers. In Hawai‘i, an aging population and the retirement of current health professionals increases the demand for health science workers. Innovative approaches and new care models are essential to meet Hawaii’s needs. One promising solution involves creating four-year undergraduate degree concentrations that train students in marketable skills that are projected to be in demand in Hawai‘i, such as in long-term care, community health, and health information management. These bachelor-level graduates could serve critical roles in relieving nurses and physicians of administrative, managerial, care coordination, and clinical dataanalysis duties that hamper their abilities to practice at the top of their licenses and training. The undergraduate health sciences program at the University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu supports students who want to enter these career paths. The program’s primary goal is to establish multiple pathways that provide opportunities for underserved youth in West O‘ahu communities to choose marketable healthcare careers that pay a sustainable and living wage. Support for this innovative initiative will create a stronger, more well-rounded and sustainable health care workforce that meets Hawaii’s increasing demand for affordable, accessible and highquality care. The final measure of success will be the quality and number of our graduates from our communities, serving our communities.