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Grossmont Healthcare District supports East County’s healthcare workforce

The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) aims to improve the future healthcare workforce of the region, ensuring talented students and professionals stay connected to higher education and employment opportunities in East San Diego County. To build a strong workforce, the District partners with other stakeholders on strategic grants and initiatives. Below is a list of the recent and ongoing workforce projects the District has been involved with.

GHD Health Career Pathway Initiative “Health Pathways”

GHD Health Career Pathway Initiative “Health Pathways” is a partnership between Grossmont Union High School District and the Grossmont Healthcare District with a long history of success. The initiative launched in 2002 when dedicated teacher, Rhian Purdy at West Hills High School, wanted to teach interested students a science curriculum that prepared them for health and medical post-secondary programs. Today, “Health Pathways” has developed into a full program and special course students can register for as an alternative to their regular science course. Lessons are taught from a health sciences lens including medically-based labs, field trips, guest speakers, health career research, and medical training teaching. The program also incorporates work-based learning experiences like internships, community service, and hands-on training. This coming Spring, the Grossmont Healthcare District’s Health & Wellness Library will host a field trip for Health Pathways students showcasing its educational resources and study spaces.

Health Career Panel

Each year, the District also hosts a Health Career Professional Panel for Grossmont Union High School students in its Conference Center Auditorium, in which professionals answer questions offering insight on what it’s really like day to day in various healthcare careers. The 2024 panel featured a healthcare administrator, personal care aide, travel nurse, clinical social worker, and physician assistant.

Health Career Exploration Summer Institute (HESI) program

During the summer, Health Pathways students can also participate in the 4-week Health Career Exploration Summer Institute (HESI) program supported by the Grossmont Healthcare District. HESI interns gain real-world experience by rotating through 10-15 hospital departments at Sharp Grossmont Hospital. Students also develop important professional workplace skills and familiarize themselves with medical case studies.

GUHSD Beanies for Babies Crochet Club

Additionally, the District’s Health & Wellness Library is the monthly Saturday meeting spot for the Grossmont Union High School District Beanies for Babies Crochet Club. Local students gather at the library to knit baby hats to donate to newborns at Sharp Grossmont Hospital. It’s a great way for local teens from different high schools in East County to connect and contribute to a great cause.

GHD High School Scholarships

The District awards GHD High School Scholarships each year to two excellent senior students from public, private, and charter schools in East County. Students are nominated by their senior class advisors/counselors and then selected to receive their scholarships at a public ceremony during a spring Board of Directors meeting. Scholarships total around $110,000 each year. This year’s awardees at each school will receive $3,300 (1st award) and $1,650 (2nd award).


GHD Health Career Scholarships

Students seeking higher education in certificate, tech, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD programs for fields such as nursing or behavioral health, as well as for occupations such as physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and health technicians also receive scholarships from the District. Post-secondary students looking to advance their careers or break into the healthcare field are encouraged to apply if they meet the application criteria. Students who live, work, or have previously attended high school in East County are encouraged to apply. Each year the Board of Directors allocates around $200,000 toward these students’ education.

LEARN MORE | GHD Scholarships

UCSD School of Public Health Community Health Worker Training

UCSD Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science is collaborating with several local agencies, including the District, on a new Community Health Worker (CHW) training program that is graduating its first cohort. This project, supported by HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration), focuses on developing capacity in Native American/Indigenous communities, and Refugee and Immigrant communities – particularly, but not exclusively from Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.

The community health workers and health support workers training will involve one basic module in community health training and three advanced modules in 1) health support, 2) soft skills development, and 3) leadership and self-care. Following training, the program will support internship and apprenticeship placements to support job placement for qualified candidates. Select trainees will also receive higher-level training to become trainers of other CHWs in their respective communities. Participants receive this training free and will receive a professional CHW certificate from UCSD Extension.

IHSS Public Authority

It’s estimated that by 2030, one in four Californians will have reached the age of 60 or older, constituting a population of approximately 10.8 million individuals. With a growing aging population, the County is always looking to increase sign-ups for its Public Authority registry, a pool of professional or non-professional caregivers that register to receive compensation for their In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS). This is especially needed in East County rural communities where in-home assistance is the best option due to a lack of transportation and nearby care facilities. In October 2023, the District hosted a Caregiver Job Fair at its Health & Wellness Library supporting the Public Authority in its recruitment efforts.

LEARN MORE | IHSS Public Authority

Caring4Cal 

The District also supported caregiver recruitment as a partnering organization on the Caring4Cal grant with SDSU Center for Excellence in Aging & Longevity (CEAL). Caring4Cal is designed to empower individuals to become compassionate and proficient caregivers, providing eight 15-hour training tracks for a diverse range of eligible Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) providers.

Overall the District continues to learn how it can better support the healthcare workforce and meet the long-term needs of the East County community.

ECEDC Healthcare Workforce Pipeline Project

In 2023, GHD collaborated with the East County Economic Development Council (ECEDC) to jumpstart the creation of a Healthcare Workforce Pipeline Project. In its initial phase, the project collected extensive research from 30 local healthcare employers and 15 educational institutions to identify gaps in the healthcare workforce. The District Board of Directors then helped narrow this down to about 18 action items and is currently identifying its 4-5 main projects to take action on — more updates on this project to come!

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