AHW Pathway Profile: Education and Workforce Development

August 28, 2020 Posted by AHW Endowment


In Wisconsin and across the country, there is a shortage of health care workers. Rapidly advancing technology and changing health needs also mean new training will be needed to meet the demand across medicine, public health, and health education.

Since 2004, AHW has taken this challenge head-on by investing more than $30.6 million in projects that have created new educational programs and workforce pipelines. Recently, AHW carved out a dedicated pathway to equip partners to develop innovative solutions to health workforce needs.

It is one of four dedicated pathways through which AHW issues funding awards and capacity-building programs. While additional AHW pathways aim to advance biomedical research and discovery, produce evidence and action through population and community health studies, and promote changes to systems that shape health in our communities, the Education and Workforce Development Pathway is unique in its focus. 

“The Education and Workforce Development Pathway is designed to build and support the boots on the ground—those working to improve health through public health, government, or nonprofits as well as those training to become practitioners,” said Tracy Wilson, program manager overseeing the pathway. “We want to invest in resources and programs that will help those doing the work today, and for years to come.”

The emphasis is on building capacity, making the workforce more accessible, more equipped, and more representative of the communities they serve. Wilson notes that although most projects focus on one of these goals, they often touch on all.

“The pathway takes a holistic approach to workforce development,” said Christina Ellis, AHW program director overseeing the endowment’s community-led projects. “We have supported innovative curriculum development for formal degree programs alongside programming and events, strategies to increase diversity in medicine and public health, and projects that encourage interest at the middle and high school levels.”

In the past year, AHW awarded more than $2.3 million in funding to both community-led and MCW-led projects aimed at addressing Wisconsin’s evolving health workforce challenges. The funding has launched new projects that will develop and prepare our health workforce, while creating student research opportunities, and events to build the capacity of today’s workforce.   

Through open calls for applications, the pathway invites projects to put forward new and promising ideas. Projects must demonstrate a clear benefit to the people of Wisconsin and address current or future health needs of the state.

“These opportunities bridge where we can partner with MCW and the community to advance the workforce in so many ways,” said Erin Fabian, AHW program director overseeing the endowment's research-led projects. “The impact of our funding is being seen across the state.”

For more information on projects funded through the AHW Education and Workforce Development Pathway, visit the AHW funded project database at ahwendowment.org/fundedprojects.

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