Friday, July 1, 2011

Strategies Align

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Two objectives of the National MS Society’s Strategic Response include (1) improving access to care and (2) community collaborations. Thus when the opportunity to participate in the Institute for Emerging Issues’ fourth and final Community Forum on Growing the Health Workforce, we got on the road to Rocky Mount. This forum focused on the role of health care professions (from allied health to direct care workers to pharmaceutical plant workers) have in sustaining economy and providing access to health care in eastern NC.

While the Emerging Issues’ February 2011 report notes the critical shortages of family physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and mental health professions, the forum in Rocky Mount focused quite a bit on allied health professionals. “Allied health professionals comprise the largest proportion of the health care workforce in North Carolina” according to the AH Job Vacancy Tracking Report (May 2011). Allied health professionals include Occupational, Physical, Respiratory and Speech Therapists. As noted in previous activisMS blogs, growing the field of physical therapists and especially those specializing in neurology is important for those living with MS and for everyone else. Of interest in this report “30% of NC’s vacancies were for PTs, but demand was much higher in the Southern Regional AHEC where there is not PT program.”

Throughout the meeting opportunities and barriers were highlighted, but most importantly to note the Society is not alone in trying to collaborate to address the health care needs of North Carolinians living with MS.

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