Program targets healthcare needs

STOCKTON -- Projections say that over the next 10 years, there will be a 599 percent shortage of allied health care professionals, according to the California Hospital Association.

These are workers who are distinctive from medicine, dentistry and nursing, and include phlebotomists and radiologists.

In response to the increasing needs in the healthcare industry, California State University, Stanislaus and the Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health Sciences launched programs for phlebotomy, radiography and sonography at CSUS's Stockton Center at University Park, 612 E. Magnolia St.

"The collaboration between CSU Stanislaus and the Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health Sciences ... addresses critical workforce shortages facing Stockton and surrounding cities," said Hamid Shirvani, president of CSU Stanislaus.

Currently, the allied health care workforce makes up about 60 percent of the total health care workforce.

The California Hospital Association estimates that the allied health care industry will generate 3 million new jobs between 2006 through 2016 across the state.

Kaiser Permanente decided to expand its program, in partnership with CSUS, after seeing an increasing number of students in their allied health care school in Richmond come from the Central Valley.

"By expanding our class offerings to the Central Valley, we will increase access for local students and ultimately help increase the number of allied health professionals in the area," said Connie Wilson, vice president of Human Resources for The Permanente Medical Group.

Classrooms for the program were renovated with the help of Grupe Commercial.

"At a time when state education funds are limited, we are proud to be a part of an innovative team that will help meet the growing need for health-care professionals in the Central Valley," Kevin Huber, said president of Grupe Commercial.

Kaiser Permanente's Richmond-based School of Allied Health Sciences will administer the Stockton programs.

Phlebotomy classes begun July 25 in Stockton; radiography and sonography programs begin later this year.

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