Monday, 14 June 2021

Adventist Health launches medical assistant school

ROSEVILLE, Calif. – Adventist Health is rolling out a groundbreaking workforce development effort in partnership with COPE Health Solutions that includes its own medical assistant school and specialized educational programs for other health professionals.

The goal is to ensure continued excellent care for the communities that Adventist Health serves while also expanding health care career opportunities in both urban and rural communities.

When it comes to health care, rural communities find it difficult to recruit and retain physicians and medical professionals.

This includes medical assistants, who are often the first caregiver that patients see in a clinic or medical office as they check blood pressure, temperature and other key health indicators.

In fact, a recent poll shows one in three Californians believes their community does not have enough caregivers, and in rural areas that number jumps to 50%.

Unchecked, the situation could grow worse as demand for physicians, nurses and other health professionals is expected to outpace supply. Jobs for medical assistants, for example, are expected to increase by 19% by 2029 compared to 4% for all occupations over the same period.

An aging population and aging health care workforce, combined with current graduation rates for medical and health professionals, are leading to predictions of increasing workforce shortages.

“Adventist Health is launching this workforce development program with COPE Health Solutions to support our strategic vision of well-being, which means helping our community members live their best lives,” said John Beaman, Adventist Health chief people and business officer. “This program will provide opportunities for health care education in hopes that local residents will find fulfilling careers and remain in these at-need communities we serve, which also will help address the pressing need to attract more people into health professions.”

New education and training options

Adventist Health’s workforce development programs will provide opportunities to college and high school students, recent graduates and any community members seeking advancement or career changes.

Healthcare consulting and workforce development firm COPE Health Solutions developed the structure and curriculum of the programs in collaboration with Adventist Health and will run the programs on a day-to-day basis.

This year’s plans include:

· Opening the COPE Health Scholars Medical Assistant Program, a seven-month educational program that combines virtual courses with 200 hours of clinic-based learning and training with patients and clinician mentors. Scholarships will be available to make the program more accessible to local students. In the first year, Adventist Health’s hospitals and clinics in Mendocino County (Ukiah and Willits) and Central Valley communities (Kings, Fresno and Tulare counties) will be participating.

· Creating programs for recruiting, training and retaining clinical and allied health professionals such as clinical lab scientists, physical therapists and registered nurses.

· Expanding the experiential COPE Health Scholars program, which provides aspiring health care professionals the opportunity to gain in-person experience and learning while providing valuable support to patients and clinicians.

Graduates of the COPE Health Scholars programs will receive a Certificate of Completion from the UCLA Executive Programs in Health Policy and Management. Students who complete the COPE Health Scholars Medical Assistant program will also be well-positioned to take the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant exam pre-accreditation and the Certified Medical Assistant exam post-accreditation.

“Adventist Health is a leader in developing a skilled workforce that can adapt to new ways of delivering care and meet the changing health needs of Americans. Providing career opportunities, support and mentorships to our communities will grow the healthcare workforce, ensure we have diversity within our workforce and ultimately provide greater access and quality of care to patients, which is a shared priority for both Adventist Health and COPE Health Solutions,” said Elizabeth DuBois, DNP, FNP-BC, AAHIVS, the COPE Health Solutions’ senior vice president who is leading the partnership with Adventist Health and is a practicing provider at Adventist Health.

Since 2013, nearly 3,000 individuals have participated in COPE Health Scholars programs at Adventist Health in communities across California and Hawaii. Many past scholars have gone on to medical or nursing school to return to their community to practice.

For more information on the COPE Health Scholars program and the medical assistant school sponsored by Adventist Health, please visit https://copehealthscholars.org/programs/medical-assistant-school.

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