San Francisco State University, Established 1899, 1600 Holloway Ave. SF, CA 94132

SFSU Public Affairs Press Release

Published by the Public Affairs Office at San Francisco State University, Lakeview Center.

Contact: Ligeia Polidora, San Francisco State University, (415) 338-1665
Martha Lucey, City College of San Francisco, (415) 239-3680
Jeffrey Okey, The California Endowment, (00) 449-4149 ext. 3351

$2 Million grant to link immigrant health care providers with medically underserved community s of color.

SAN FRANCISCO, March 19, 2001 - A nonprofit program developed to help internationally trained health professionals gain a foothold in California's medically underserved areas of high ethnic diversity received a $2 million shot in the arm today from the California Endowment.

The program, called "Welcome Back, " will operate under the auspices of the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Health Occupations Resource Center (RHORC). Welcome Back will function as a counseling, education and job placement service for immigrant health professionals, helping them navigate the state's licensing system and obtain the necessary credentials required to work in the United States.

"Welcome Back is yet another example of our commitment to contributing to the quality and diversification of the health workforce" said Dr. Philip Day, Chancellor of City College of San Francisco, which will operate the program in partnership with San Francisco State University. "In this regard, Welcome Back will make and important and timely contribution."

According to RHORC Director Jose Ramón Fernandez- Pena, M.D., the Bay Area is home to an untapped pool of well-trained immigrant health care providers-from nurses to medication doctors-whose expertise, language skills and resources are needed in low-income community clinics that are chronically understaffed.

"We want to build a bridge between these highly trained health care professionals and the underserved communities that desperately need their skills and cultural competence," said Fernandez-Pena.

Community Health Works, a 10-year-old educational partnership between the Department of Health Education at San Francisco State and the Health Sciences Department of City College of San Francisco, will provide the infrastructure and resources necessary to launch the new program. Welcome Back will offer services at both institutions, and educational pathways to speed transfer and graduation between the community college and four-year university. Upon completion of their training, students will be required to volunteer to work 200 hours in medically underserved areas.

Located on the SFSU campus, Community Health Works is a nationally recognized center for training, research and development of community health professionals was the first to establish Community Health Works Certificate program in the United States. It was selected as one of the most "innovative and promising" health employment training programs in the United States and specializes in producing highly trained health-care workers for employment in low-income communities.

"In an environments as divers as the Bay, Area, it is critical to build a cadre of health workers that mirrors the new California," said SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan. "Welcome Back is the latest in a number of efforts SFSU is making in partnership with CCSF under the umbrella of our joint Community Health Works program, which has enjoyed tremendous success in producing well-trained professionals to work in medically underserved areas."

"The California Endowment is delighted to fund this innovative program which utilizes existing resources to fill a critical gap in the state's health care work force," said Robert K. Ross, Me> D. president and CEOR of the Endowment. "Providing a more timely and accurate diagnosis, and an effective treatment plan, will be made possible because of the understanding of cultural values and practices of patients by their medical service providers."

Based on the San Francisco model of Welcome Back, which will be the state's lead site, The California Endowment is funding a second Welcome Back center in the Los Angeles area and has provided two one-year planning grants to extend the program to the Central Valley and San Diego and Imperial counties.

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SFSU, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132
Last modified April 24, 2007, by Office of Public Affairs