Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research,
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

March 2017
Carolina Health Workforce Research Center

Created in 2013, the CHWRC is one of six national Health Workforce Research Centers funded through cooperative agreements with the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis in the Bureau of Health Workforce in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The mission of the CHWRC is to conduct and disseminate timely, policy-relevant research on the flexible use of healthcare workers to improve the quality and efficiency of health care.    
Productivity and Dissemination
The Carolina Health Workforce Research Center: Contributions to the Field of Health Workforce Research, 2013-2017
Since 2013, our HWRC researchers have produced research, data, and analyses that have shaped policy; developed new methods and tools to analyze workforce data; built the science of workforce research by disseminating findings; and mentored the next generation of health workforce researchers. Investigators from our projects in 2013-2016 generated 66 products, including 8 peer-reviewed articles (4 more under review); 21 briefs; 10 conference papers and posters; and 17 presentations and webinars. 
Read the full summary.

Our colleagues at the George Washington Health Workforce Research Center recently released a synthesis of key findings from the six funded health workforce research centers from 2013-2016. You can find synopses of our work and other Centers' work here
Making Connections 
Our Year 4 project: "Developing a better understanding of medical assistants' roles and functions in primary care settings" reflected in Tom Bodenheimer's 13th Annual Huntley Lecture  
The UNC Department of Family Medicine hosted Tom Bodenheimer, MD, MPH for the 13th Annual Huntley Lecture on March 1, 2017. His topic, "Building Primary Care Teams to Meet Healthcare's Challenges," highlighted the expanded roles that some medical assistants (MAs) are performing, leading to strong, well-built primary care teams for high value and exceptional care. He noted, though, that there is little research in the area of how this has affected MA job satisfaction. Our year 4 project will survey MAs and providers to better understand MAs' roles and functions in primary care settings, as well as MA job satisfaction. The project will extend Bodenheimer's work and begin to explore the fourth of the Quadruple Aims-- staff job satisfaction.
Read the project description.

Upcoming Presentations

The 13th Annual AAMC Health Workforce Research Meeting is being held in Arlington, VA on May 3-5. Investigators from the UNC Sheps Center and our collaborators are looking forward to participating in five podium presentations and connecting with our colleagues. Be on the lookout for these talks:
  • State-based approaches to reforming Medicaid-funded graduate medical education. Erin Fraher, Julie Spero, Tom Bacon (Breakout I)
  • Developing interactive data visualizations for state workforce planning and policy. Evan Galloway, Julie Spero, Erin Fraher (Breakout J)
  • Social Work in Integrated Primary Care: A Systematic Review. Brianna Lombardi, Lisa de Saxe Zerden, Erica Richman, Erin Fraher, Mark Fraser, Shiyou Wu (Breakout L) 
  • Rapid growth in NP and PA supply will likely mitigate national physician shortage. Erin Fraher, Andy Knapton (Breakout N)
  • Are nurses moving to outpatient jobs? Joanne Spetz, Erin Fraher, Erica Richman (Breakout O)
Recent Presentations
Fraher EP. " Health Workforce Research in Pediatrics: Current Work and Future Directions." American Board of Pediatrics Research Advisory Council. Chapel Hill, NC. February 22, 2017.  
Using Data to Inform Policy in North Carolina

What is the distribution of optometrists and ophthalmologists in NC?

The North Carolina Health Professions Data System (HPDS) analyzed data on optometrists and ophthalmologists in North Carolina, at the request of the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA). The NCGA is considering a bill to amend optometry scope of practice to expand access to eye care in the state (HB36). According to HPDS data, derived from the North Carolina State Board of Optometry and the North Carolina Medical Board, there were 1,164 optometrists and 589 ophthalmologists actively practicing in NC in 2015. The map below, based on primary practice location, shows that 42 counties did not have an ophthalmologist and 12 counties did not have an optometrist in 2015. Neither type of eye care provider reported a primary practice location in eleven counties, ten in the eastern part of the state and one in the mountains.  

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