Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky Grant

Contact: Amanda Nelson

 

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Accurate workforce data is needed to reflect Kentucky-specific problems and to assist in developing local community needs assessments. Workforce data is required to support and strengthen grant proposal submissions. The data also is required to make informed decisions about the development of new workforce training programs, as well as expanding or reducing existing programs, such as academic training programs for physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and psychologists.

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 13, 2004) -- The University of Kentucky Office of Health Research and Development, directed by Dr. Emery A. Wilson, has received a $75,565 grant from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky to establish a Kentucky health data council.

Kentucky ranks high in instances of chronic diseases such as lung cancer and preventable health conditions like type II diabetes. One way of combating the problem is to ensure that the distribution of health care workers is appropriate, especially in rural and low income parts of the state.

The health data council will initially be comprised of representatives of health profession licensure boards. These boards currently are the best tool for tracking the health care workforce. The licensure boards can ensure 100 percent reporting of licensed health care providers in Kentucky. The council will develop a plan to improve the quality and timeliness of information about the health care workforce in Kentucky.

“The information will empower policy makers, program planners, and community groups to make wise decisions in assuring access to quality health care for all Kentuckians,” said Michael Samuels, UK endowed chair in Rural Health Policy and primary investigator on the grant.

Accurate workforce data is needed to reflect Kentucky-specific problems and to assist in developing local community needs assessments. Workforce data is required to support and strengthen grant proposal submissions. The data also is required to make informed decisions about the development of new workforce training programs, as well as expanding or reducing existing programs, such as academic training programs for physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists and psychologists.

The council will work with licensure boards on their databases and explore possible changes to current application questions that health care workers answer when applying for or renewing a license. The council will consider adding questions that will benefit health workforce analysis and research in Kentucky.

The council will initially comprise the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, Kentucky Board of Nursing, Kentucky Board of Dentistry, Kentucky Board of Pharmacy, and Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology.

“We hope that this pilot effort will contribute to a broader view among the public and policy makers that health issues are complex and interdependent and that there is a need for a comprehensive coordinated statewide system of health information gathering and utilization,” said Foundation Executive Director Rita Moya. “It is the basis for making interlocking health policy decisions into a deliberate plan that guides the development of a seamless system of the health care accessible to all Kentuckians.”


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