HSC’s School of Health Professions to host Health Professions Workforce Symposium

Glenn ForisterModern medicine is a team sport, and roughly 60% of that team is composed of practitioners who exist outside of the doctor-nurse paradigm. These vital pillars make up the backbone of the $3 trillion health care sector, and they’re among the fastest-growing professions in the world.

From 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s School of Health Professions will host an evening of presentations and thoughtful discussion with national leaders in the physical therapy, physician assistant, and health and wellness coaching fields.

The Health Professions Workforce Symposium will address the myriad challenges facing the workforce and opportunities within the health professions. The free event is open to the public and will be hosted on campus in Room 109-111 of the Medical Education & Training Building, 1000 Montgomery St., with a livestream option available upon registration. The event is part of HSC’s 2023 Health Care Workforce & Education series. Space is limited.

“These health care workforce events represent so much more than a convergence of nationally lauded experts,” said Dr. Charles Taylor, HSC provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “They’re a catalyst for change, constructive dialogue and, ultimately, better patient care. With rising demand, changes in technology and a litany of other challenges facing health care, the timing of this event could not be more urgent.

“HSC’s School of Health Professions is uniquely poised to lead on some of the critical issues facing the future of health care, including Whole Health, health disparities and the use of evidence-based practices. We’re so proud to be on the frontline of these forward-thinking conversations.”

The evening will be hosted by Dr. Glenn Forister, dean of HSC’s School of Health Professions. The speakers include Todd Pickard, MMSc, PA-C, DFAAPA, FASCO, vice president and speaker of the house, American Academy of Physician Associates; Tara Jo Manal, PT, DPT, FAPTA, senior vice president, scientific affairs, American Physical Therapy Association; and Erika Jackson, MCC, MLHR, NBC-HW, chief coaching officer, Wellcoaches.

Following the keynote speeches, Forister will moderate a panel discussion between the speakers and the School of Health Professions’ department chairs: Lauren Dobbs, MMS, PA-C, Physician Assistant Studies; Michael Furtado, PT, DPT, EdD, Physical Therapy; and Misti Zablosky, PhD, LAT, CHWC, DipACLM, Personalized Health and Well-Being. The discussion topics will include the changing health care environment, workforce trends, digital health and interprofessional training and practice.

“In a rapidly changing health care landscape, these kinds of conversations are vital to better understand the role of health care professions in transforming the future of our system,” Forister said. “Our system has outgrown the timeworn paths of traditional health care education. The delivery system is changing every day, and the way we educate our future workforce must continue to innovate to meet the needs of patients.”

Throughout the health care professions, interrelated crises are unfolding. With record shortfalls in the numbers of doctors and nurses around the country, population changes, technical advances, growing health needs and an expected surge of retiring workers, it’s little wonder that health professions careers are among the fastest growing in the U.S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care jobs are expected to grow 13% up to 2031 — much faster than the average for all occupations.

“We’re training students who will join a group that represents 60% of the current health care workforce,” Forister said. “The demands on health care professions, aside from doctors and nurses, have escalated relentlessly in the past few decades and project to have the greatest growth in labor demands by 2030. We as educators have a moral obligation to confront these issues with open minds.”

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