Grossmont Healthcare District Combats Health Care Worker Shortage Crisis with Scholarships

Strengthening the health care workforce is a priority due to pandemic-induced burnout

LA MESA, Calif. (Dec. 13, 2021) – The Grossmont Healthcare District’s (GHD) annual scholarship cycle has opened with opportunities offered to local residents working or studying in the health field within GHD boundaries.

This year, more than $210,000 has been allocated to the scholarship program to help alleviate the challenges local clinics and hospitals are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to national surveys, 43% of health care workers are suffering from work overload and 49% have burnout, leading to emotional exhaustion and driving industry scarcity.

A critical strategy for addressing this crippling shortage is strengthening opportunities for advancement available to the local health care workforce. Dr. Daniel Enemark, Senior Economist at San Diego Workforce Partnership, sees the investment of recruiting and preserving medical professionals as a priority.

“San Diego County needs a talented and diverse health care workforce to serve our population,” said Dr. Enemark. “That requires training more San Diegans to meet the growing demand for talent, and it also requires paying higher wages to attract and retain skilled workers. Scholarship programs are a significant step toward making the health care talent pipeline wider and more equitable.”

To foster growth in the health care field, the scholarship program’s purpose is to remove financial barriers in education and professional development. The District recognizes the impact it can have on meeting the necessity to build a diverse, local health care workforce.

“It’s more important than ever to support not only our current health care workers, but also the future generation,” said District Board President Virginia Hall. “As the need for new workers skyrockets, we want to ensure we’re taking care of those currently on the frontlines as well as those who will be taking care of us tomorrow.”

Among the available scholarships are two non-renewable scholarships in the amount of $5,000 for first place and $3,000 for second place to be awarded to Registered Nursing students based on their community involvement. Additionally, there are five scholarships in the amount of $3,500 each for students in a healthcare related technical program. Those pursuing advanced degrees also are supported, with up to five $10,000 student scholarships for behavioral health professionals, and up to three $7,000 scholarships for Registered Nurses who have been accepted into Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant programs.

GHD will also recognize local high school students interested in a health care career with scholarship grants, with $113,850 available for students attending traditional colleges and career training programs at the Health Occupations Center based in Santee. Since 1999, hundreds of students and working professionals have been recognized to receive individual scholarships totaling about $1.5 million.

The application deadline for all scholarships is Feb. 11. Interested students can learn more at https://www.grossmonthealthcare.org/community/scholarships