By: Levi Pace and Laura Summers
Note: The opinions expressed are those of the authors alone and do not reflect an institutional position of the Gardner Institute. We hope the opinions shared contribute to the marketplace of ideas and help people as they formulate their own INFORMED DECISIONS™.
Data consistently show that many areas in Utah experience a shortage of health care workers, and most of Utah is a designated health professional shortage area.[i] Even in areas where health care professionals are accessible though, language and multicultural understanding can be barriers to individuals and families accessing appropriate services. To address these issues, several groups in Utah are looking for ways to increase interest and diversity in Utah’s health care workforce as part of larger initiatives to improve access to care.
The Gardner Institute recently released a Diversity in Utah Data Book―and after some initial conversations with different groups focused on workforce issues, we thought it might be helpful to further develop some of the data used in that book with a specific focus on diversity within Utah’s health care industry.
Our findings come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey,[ii] and cover a wide range of health care occupations, such as practitioners, support staff, and management.[iii] We hope that these data can complement other sources and be useful to groups seeking information to support the education, training, hiring, and retention of diverse talent in Utah’s health care occupations.
There are several ways to examine diversity in Utah’s workforce. Fo