Sens. Marshall and Moran Announce Funding to Address Health Care Workforce Shortages in Kansas
(Washington, D.C., September 7, 2021) – Today, U.S. Senators Roger Marshall, M.D. and Jerry Moran announced the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded over $270,000 to the University of Kansas Medical Center to provide students with learning experiences that would grow their interest and knowledge about the health sciences, and in turn, build a robust health care workforce.
“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed many existing vulnerabilities within the health care industry and exacerbated shortages within our workforce,” said Senator Marshall. “As a physician who served rural and underserved communities, I saw workforce shortages in Kansas firsthand. We need to build tomorrow’s health care heroes today. Health and biomedical sciences can offer incredibly rewarding careers, but entering into those fields can be intimidating. KUMC’s partnership will bring experiences and a more engaging approach that will encourage students to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in health care.”
“Training and recruiting the next generation of health care workers is essential to providing Kansans access to high quality care in every corner of the state,” said Sen. Moran. “Partnering with local educational programs will help recruit students to be future health care professionals while developing their appreciation for the communities where they receive their education. This grant will allow KUMC to further invest in providing adequate training for professionals to confidently care for their patients while encouraging them to stay and serve in Kansas.”
The project, funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, will establish a learning consortium of teachers, students and researchers committed to bringing relevant community-based health issues into the classroom. Specifically, KUMC will establish a Teachers and Students for Community Oriented Research and Education: Linking Industry, Faculty, and Teachers (TSCORE LIFT) program. The program builds on their existing project to create a community among five Kansas health systems, five Kansas universities, and five Kansas school districts to develop and test a series of three educational interventions along the Kansas Health and Biosciences Career Pathway. The project leaders will empower 25 teachers to deliver educational content and provide experiences in the health care industry for an estimated 1,400 students in the state of Kansas. The areas will include Hays, Topeka, Wichita, Lawrence, and Kansas City.
A recent report from the Kansas Hospital Association cited numerous staffing challenges and a shortage of skilled health care workers across the state. Challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic – turnover, vacancy, and retention – further attribute to the workforce shortages.
The project is intended to develop retention strategies across the state to maintain and increase the number of underrepresented and minority students pursuing careers in health sciences. In total, the KUMC received $271,155 for this budget period. The project will run for five years. This is the second such award the KUMC team has received to serve Kansas teachers and students.
Federal funding for this award was made possible by the bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.