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HRSA center an online resource for health workers.

HEALTH professionals can take advantage of a new Web resource designed to give them information on programs, funding and research.

Launched by the Health Resources and Services Administration in February, the online Workforce Information Center features information in areas such as health programs and funding sources, work force data, research and policy, and educational opportunities. The center, operated by the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, is designed to help health providers, educators, researchers and policymakers develop strategies to meet future work force demands.

In addition to providing access to a broad range of publications and other resources, the center's Web site also offers free, customized assistance from digital librarians. Those information specialists will search databases on work force topics and funding resources, furnish relevant publications and connect users to work force experts and federal programs, among other information.

"Many people in government and private and nonprofit organizations need access to the type of quickly assembled, user-friendly data the center will make available," said Kristine Sande, Health Workforce Information Center deputy director at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. "Accurate information on the health work force will be vitally important in the ongoing health care debate, and we provide a way for individuals to get it from a single, trusted source."

Information available from the center is divided both by topic and by professions. Under primary care, for example, funding links include information on the Massachusetts Primary Care Physician Loan Repayment Program, reports on access problems faced by the "medically disenfranchised," tips on how to build a primary care work force for the 21st century, and even a report to Congress on training in primary care medicine and dentistry as part of the Public Health Service Act.

Other topics, listed alphabetically, run the gamut from academic health centers to licensure and certification to substance abuse and the work force pipeline. Under diversity, funding resources include the Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program, scholarship opportunities for minority dental students, and grants to address innovative health care solutions and efforts to provide care to vulnerable populations. Specific diversity-related resources touch on ensuring diversity in the health care work force, attrition in nursing among black and white nurses, a gender-based study of attitudes and practice characteristics of rural West Virginia physicians, and California's efforts to improve diversity in the pharmacy, physician, nursing and dental work forces.

"As shortages of physicians, nurses and allied health personnel worsen, information available through the center will help lawmakers, hospitals and schools develop strategies to meet future work force demands," said then HRSA Administrator Elizabeth M. Duke, PhD, in February.

The center allows users to sign up for a monthly e-mail newsletter and provides free information assistance either online or via phone or fax. It lists conferences and meetings, including Webinars and teleconferences, as well as key federal and state agencies, foundations, research centers, associations and other organizations.

The Health Workforce Information Center can be accessed online at www.
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Title Annotation:Web site designed to help meet the demands of work force
Publication:The Nation's Health
Date:Apr 1, 2009
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