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Health workforce

The Healthier Washington initiative seeks to transform our health system through multiple approaches, including workforce innovation. Two of the ways we are doing this is through the Community Health Worker Task Force, and the Health Workforce Sentinel Network.

What is the Washington Health Workforce Sentinel Network?

To know more quickly—and with more certainty—where shortages are occurring and training is most needed during this time of rapid change in the health care system, Healthier Washington has supported development of the Sentinel Network. This Network links the health care sector with partners in education and training, policymakers, and workforce planners to collectively identify and respond to new and changing demand for health care workers, skills and roles. Health care employers identified as Sentinels regularly track and report about workforce demand at their facilities and contribute to the discovery of emerging trends statewide, regionally, and in different health care settings.

Part of the Healthier Washington initiative, the Sentinel Network is a collaboration of the state’s Workforce Board and the University of Washington Center for Health Workforce Studies, with funding from the Washington State Health Care Authority.

Visit the Sentinel Network website to view what Sentinels have reported by type of health care facility, region, and occupation.

What is the Community Health Worker (CHW) Task Force?

The task force was created to develop policy and system change recommendations to align the Community Health Worker workforce with the Healthier Washington initiative. Over a period of five months, members were tasked with making recommendations that would support the integration of community health workers into our health and health care system.

In collaboration with statewide partners, the Department of Health (DOH) will develop guidelines for implementing training and education recommendations for community health workers, building on the work of a Task Force under the state's Healthier Washington initiative. DOH will report to the Legislature on the progress of this phase by June 30, 2019.

In Washington State, there is a limited policy framework guiding the use of CHWs in health systems. In 2015, a CHW Task Force was convened as part of the state's Healthier Washington initiative to develop actionable policy recommendations to align the CHW workforce with other projects under the initiative. The Task Force released a report in 2016 with recommendations about CHW roles, skills, and qualities, training and education needs, and finance and sustainability considerations for long-term CHW integration into Washington’s health care system.

Learn more at DOH's 2018 Community Health Worker Training and Education Project webpage.


Sentinel Network questions?
Sue Skillman
Phone: 206-543-3557
Email: healthworkforce@wasentinelnetwork.org