There is an increased awareness among policy makers, providers, and educators that the size, composition, geographic distribution, and skill mix of the health care workforce is of great importance in determining the likelihood of success in achieving our societal goals for health care reform. As academic and governmental institutions work to address these pressing questions, private foundations can and should play an important role in supporting the design, execution, and evaluation of innovative educational programs that will address these needs. Foundations also can and should play a role in generating information that will better inform health care workforce policies and in convening thought leaders to make recommendations that will advance the field of workforce studies.
The author details current efforts by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and other private foundations to address health care workforce needs. Foundations can play important roles as catalysts for change in our educational processes, and they can serve as important links between education and health care delivery systems. Partnerships among foundations and between private foundations and federal agencies can be powerful forces in helping to better align the skills of future health professionals with changing patient demographics and a changing health care system.
Dr. Thibault is president, Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, New York, New York.
Other disclosures: None.
Ethical approval: Not applicable.
Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Thibault, Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, 44 E. 64th St., New York, NY 10065; telephone: (212) 486-2424; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.