SUNY Chancellor King Announces Task Force to Address Statewide Health Care Workforce Shortage

September 8, 2023

Task Force to Recommend Actions that Address the Pressing Statewide Health Care Workforce Shortage

Albany, NY – As New York State continues to work to fill a projected gap in health care professionals, particularly in the field of nursing, State University of New York Chancellor John B. King, Jr. has convened a new SUNY-wide "Future of Health Care Workforce Task Force," which represents campuses educating more than half of SUNY's overall health care enrollment. The task force will focus on expanding SUNY's educational capacity in health care profession shortage areas, strengthening the pipeline of students in professions that have been hit hardest, and aligning education with health care industry needs.

"The ongoing shortage of health care professionals poses a significant long-term threat to our state's ability to provide high-quality care to New Yorkers, and SUNY is a key part of the solution. As such, we must take immediate and concerted steps to ensure the availability of a highly trained, diverse, and sustainable health care workforce," said SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. "One step, which has already been taken thanks to Governor Hochul and our legislative partners, is to provide nursing students the opportunity to complete one-third of their clinical work in a high-quality simulated environment, which will further enhance their success. Through the input of this task force, SUNY will continue to advocate for expanded innovation for this life-saving industry."

Chancellor King announced the task force today while addressing the Health WorkForce New York, an organization that was formed in 2014 to improve access to quality health care in underserved communities.

Task force members include:

  • SUNY Board Trustee Eric Corngold
  • SUNY Board Trustee Robert J. Duffy
  • Dr. Harvey Stenger, Binghamton University, President 
  • Dr. Allison Brashear, MD, MBA, University at Buffalo, Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
  • Dr. Heidi MacPherson, SUNY Brockport, President
  • Dr. Tony Hawkins, SUNY Broome, President
  • Dr. Wayne Riley, MD, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, President
  • Dr. DeAnna Burt-Nanna, Monroe Community College, President  
  • Dr. Harold Paz, Stony Brook University, Executive Vice President for Health Sciences and Chief Executive Officer of Stony Brook University Medicine
  • Dr. Mantosh Dewan, MD, Upstate Medical University, President
  • Dr. Belinda Miles, SUNY Westchester Community College, President

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that overall employment in health care occupations is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations from 2021 to 2031. With a 7.5% share of total health care employment across the nation, New York ranks third among all U.S. states in health care workforce contribution, positioning the state to experience a more pronounced impact from a shortage of health care professionals.

Workgroups within the task force will represent higher education, health care providers and associations, workforce and continuing education, simulation experts, and more. Where applicable, the task force will consult with national experts, organized labor organizations, state agencies, and students.

SUNY Board Trustee Eric Corngold said, "Across the state and the nation we see the strain building on our medical system as a dramatic shortage of health care professionals grows. With experts across SUNY, and our connections to leading outside authorities, we have a real opportunity to prepare generations of health care professionals and innovate our hospitals and medical centers to be more efficient in their care of patients. It is an honor to be a part of this task force."

SUNY Board Trustee Robert J. Duffy said, "Our health care system depends on highly skilled professionals in a wide variety of roles, and our assistance in inspiring and educating experts to join their ranks is crucial and must expand. SUNY is known for its academic excellence, research, and leadership in workforce development. I commend the Chancellor for bringing this team together at this critical time, and I am proud to be a part of this effort.

Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger said, "I'm honored to join a team of esteemed leaders on the Future of Health Care Workforce Task Force. Binghamton has invested in this area through advanced research, the expansion of our Health Sciences Campus, and new collaborations with local health care systems and organizations, providing more opportunities for nursing and pharmaceutical students—but there is more work to be done. Health care professionals are vital members of our workforce and society, and this initiative will hopefully lead to more opportunities for students, an increased and better-equipped workforce, and a healthier future for millions of New Yorkers."

SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson said, "SUNY Brockport has long been a leader in health care education, offering a number of different programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels—including a wide range of nursing programs. I am pleased to be joining SUNY's Future of Health Care Workforce Task Force. It will provide yet another avenue for us to continue to meet the needs of our community."

SUNY Broome Community College President Tony Hawkins said, "At SUNY Broome we have met with local providers of healthcare to address the shortage of workers. The conversations have been collaborative, informative, and fruitful. Participating in this task force will give us an opportunity to include more voices and look for solutions to expand capacity across the State."

University at Buffalo Vice President for Health Sciences Allison Brashear, MD, said, "The strain on our medical system is growing as the shortage of health care professionals becomes more dramatic across our state and nation. I'm honored to join this SUNY taskforce and to help address the health care shortage, strengthen the pipeline opportunities, and align education with industry needs. We at the University at Buffalo are dedicated to addressing this pressing issue that is so vital to our community."

SUNY Downstate President Wayne J. Riley, M.D. said, "The health care professional and workforce shortage poses significant risks to the quality and accessibility of health care services in New York. Amid rising health care costs, and a growing aging population, these shortages will disproportionally impact under-resourced, underserved, and working-class communities. By expanding pipeline opportunities and access to the health care professions, we can fill the gap and proactively serve a growing population segment. I look forward to working with my fellow task force colleagues to create workable, effective, and scalable recommendations for this fundamental challenge to caring for all New Yorkers.

Monroe Community College President DeAnna R. Burt-Nanna said, "The challenges we face with the shortage of health care professionals in our state are daunting. Building on the work of our recent summit to address the shortage of nurse educators, Monroe Community College is committed to continuing our work with our SUNY colleagues to find innovative ways to address this vital issue."

Stony Brook University executive vice president for Health Sciences and chief executive officer, Stony Brook University Medicine, Dr. Hal Paz, MD said: "As a result of an aging population and the growing burden of chronic disease, there has never been a more important time to address the fundamental imbalance between the supply of health professionals and the demand for healthcare services. Accelerating efforts to build a robust pipeline for healthcare training is of critical importance. We must begin building the future of healthcare by educating the next generation of health professionals to work together efficiently in teams with the training and skills necessary to embrace new and emerging technologies. This task force is an important first step and I look forward to the work ahead."

SUNY Upstate Medical University President Mantosh Dewan, M.D. said, "I'm grateful to Chancellor King for creating this pivotal Future of Health Care Workforce Task Force, and I am pleased to join this panel with so many of my visionary colleagues. As an academic medical center, Upstate sees the shortage from all sides as we train the health care workforce of tomorrow and care for our patients today. I am confident that with this initiative, SUNY can be part of the solution in addressing this shortage and creating a more robust health care workforce."

Westchester Community College President Belinda Miles said, "The health care workforce shortage in New York State is pressing, especially in Westchester County, where the health care industry is the top-growing sector, projected to increase by 30 percent by 2028. SUNY Westchester is partnering with industry leaders to expand programs, increase collaboration between stakeholders, and foster greater diversity in the workforce. The mission is clear."

SUNY educates over 40,000 students through degree-granting health care profession programs. More than 11,000 health professionals graduate each year from a SUNY institution, including one in every three medical school graduates and nearly one in every three nursing graduates in New York State. SUNY's influence in health workforce education reaches further when considering workforce and continuing education programs, which offer training for essential professions such as medical assistants, pharmacy technicians, certified nursing assistants, and more.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit suny.edu.


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