Expanding Access to Equitable Healthcare Career Education and Opportunities

January 15, 2022

Sign up for the FUSE Newsletter

FUSE Corps

In the midst of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, opportunities to increase the skilled healthcare workforce are particularly critical. Given this, Los Angeles County’s College of Nursing & Allied Health (CONAH) is now looking to expand the current program to also offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. In order to support improved health outcomes for Los Angeles residents, DHS will partner with FUSE Corps to manage the onboarding of the BSN program and additional allied health programs at CONAH.

This fellowship project begins on April 25, 2022, and ends on April 24, 2023. The fellowship begins with a multi-day virtual orientation the week of April 25, 2022. The selected Executive Fellow will begin their first day of providing services to the host agency on May 2, 2022.

PROJECT CONTEXT 

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) is the second-largest municipal health system in the nation. Through its integrated system of 27 health centers and four hospitals — and an expanded network of community partner clinics — DHS provides direct care for more than 700,000 unique patients annually and employs more than 23,000 staff. In addition, DHS is a nationally-recognized safety net system, serving patients who are low-income, uninsured or covered by Medi-Cal, experiencing homelessness and those involved with the LA County criminal justice system. Los Angeles County’s College of Nursing & Allied Health (CONAH) has prepared students for employment, professional development, and/or advancement for 125 years. Completing their clinical rotations in the system and often hailing from the area, graduates are particularly well placed to understand and address LA County’s healthcare needs.

CONAH graduates approximately 100 RNs annually from the two- year program with an Associate Degree in Nursing, and has a pass rate for licensure after graduation between 94% to 96% – higher than the California and national average pass rates. In addition to the general nursing program, CONAH also offers a pathway for Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) to enroll in the RN program. The Allied Health Division focuses on providing continuing education credits and seeks to offer certifications and degrees for non-nursing and allied health programs such as Certified Medical Assistants (CMAs), Central Service Technicians (CSTs) and other programs to support DHS hospitals and clinics. CONAH is exploring the establishment of a foundation to make its funding sources more sustainable, particularly given the growing need to skilled healthcare professionals. Given its price point, CONAH is one of the most accessible options for healthcare training in LA County for many local communities. 

With the majority of the student body hailing from under-represented and underserved communities in the County, these programs can be significant in reducing generational poverty in the community by supporting opportunities for career advancement and increases in earning potential. In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, opportunities to increase the skilled healthcare workforce are particularly critical. CONAH recently received approval from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) to start developing a curriculum for CST, and is now looking to expand the current ADN program to also offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. A feasibility study was done in 2019/2020 with recommendations on how to move forward with that process. It outlines many of the steps needed to bring the BSN program to life.

In order to support improved health outcomes for Los Angeles residents, DHS will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive fellow for one year to manage the onboarding of the BSN program and additional allied health programs at CONAH. The fellow will develop and execute the implementation plan to ensure access to a BSN program as well as continuing education for local students looking to enter the medical profession.

PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES

The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables that follow will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship, after which a revised scope of work will be developed and agreed upon by the FUSE Fellow and the host agency.

Starting in April 2022, the FUSE Executive Fellow will work to quickly connect with a wide range of critical stakeholders, including staff in DHS and CONAH to develop an implementation plan that allows CONAH to begin offering the BSN degree and additional allied health certification programs. The fellow will spearhead mapping the process including the roles that various stakeholders will need to play. The fellow will research best in class BSN programs to understand the processes and systems that CONAH must put in place for successful, sustainable degree and certification programs. 

The fellow will begin execution of the implementation plan, working with all appropriate DHS and CONAH stakeholders needed to develop a successful program. The strategy will include recommendations on how to communicate CONAH’s expanded offerings to the community as well as current LA County healthcare system employees who would benefit from opportunities for career advancement, particularly in low-income communities and communities of color. The fellow will make the case for the critical nature of this work, in order to help secure funding for its continued implementation, for example through the potential establishment of a CONAH foundation. Ultimately, the plan will lead to the enrollment of the first cohort of BSN students to help DHS provide enhanced care in the LA County healthcare system, and equitable vocational and career advancement opportunities to underserved communities.

  • Assess the current landscape and review best practices: Gain an in-depth understanding of existing, planned, and future efforts to modernize CONAH in preparation for expanded training opportunities. Highlight improvements that are critical to the expanded degree and certification offerings: opportunities for improvement, forecasted gaps, and metrics for success. Explore ways to improve systems such as management systems, learning management systems, workforce development pathways, and collaboration with other agencies and units that will set CONAH up for BSN accreditation and professional development certification. Consider the needs and challenges of the community when planning aspects such as class schedules (for example, to accommodate students who are full-time employed), potential needs to increase tuition vs. the commitment to keeping the program accessible for local students and communicating the expanded program within various communities.
  • Engage internal and external stakeholders to establish deep relationships and design recommendations: Demonstrate cross-cultural agility and successfully engage with all relevant stakeholders. Establish relationships with other agencies, accreditation entities and key customer groups to turn existing recommendations into an implementation plan and manage the project towards onboarding the first cohort of BSN and expanded allied health offering students.
  • Map process improvements with strategies and timelines for implementation: Create a plan for improving the systems and processes that are needed to move CONAH to offering these expanding learning opportunities. The implementation plan should include carefully sequenced phases designed to build momentum and ensure smooth transitions for all key stakeholders. Include prioritized initiatives, deliverables, timelines, budgets, staffing needs, and change management approaches.
  • Support long-term implementation and ensure initiative sustainability: Execute the plan that leads to the processes in place that lead to an initial cohort being in place by the end of the first year – include the goals and systems for monitoring and reporting out on progress.

KEY STAKEHOLDERS

  • Executive Sponsor/Project Supervisor – Vivian Branchick, MSN, BSN, RN, Provost, College of Nursing and Allied Health, Los Angeles Department of Health Services
  • Mildred Gonzales, PhD, RN, OCN, Dean and Program Director, College of Nursing and Allied Health, Los Angeles Department of Health Services
  • Trina Trongone, MSNEd, BS, RN, Dean, College Operations and Student Support Services, College of Nursing and Allied Health, Los Angeles Department of Health Services
  • Herminia Honda, PNP, MSN, RN, Dean, Institutional Effectiveness, Research, and Planning, College of Nursing and Allied Health, Los Angeles Department of Health Services 

QUALIFICATIONS

  • At least 15 years of professional experience in education accreditation of similar experience with a strong background in strategic planning and project management (PMP certification a plus)
  • Superior critical thinking and analytical skills, including the ability to quickly map various stakeholders and initiatives
  • Capacity to identify best practices, understand data and evidence and use it to support a business case, and make a persuasive argument to support recommendations
  • Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans
  • Excellent stakeholder engagement skills and the ability to use facilitative leadership techniques to coordinate stakeholder activities
  • Experience in a health care or government setting a plus
  • Self-motivated and goal-oriented leader who can also be an independent worker
  • Ability to relate to diverse audiences with strong emotional intelligence and empathy
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with an ease in public presentations
  • Ability to sustain progress within potentially ambiguous environments
  • Experience working with underserved communities
FUSE Corps is an equal opportunity employer with a core value of incorporating diverse perspectives into our work at every level. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.
X