Humboldt State University launches new program to help boost local healthcare workforce

ARCATA, Calif. (KIEM) — A growing issue for Humboldt County is the shortage of health care workers with trained medical staff often recruited from out of the area to work in local hospitals and clinics.

Humboldt State University is launching a new program in hopes of helping fill gaps in care by placing more qualified nurses and social workers in the local community.

“Patients are having to wait long periods of time to get in to see a provider. So, having more people better trained, working to the top of their license, and better able to support that provider so they don’t have to be called in for every single thing that comes up with the patient will better serve our patients more holistically and completely,” according to Kim Perris, the Director of Nursing for the RN-to-BSN Program.

The Community Health Scholars Program is in partnership with both the nursing and social work programs and the California Area Health Education Center. It allows for students to incorporate training and clinical hours into their course load. In addition to helping build up the local workforce of health care staff, Perris hopes it encourages students to stay in the area long-term.

“They’re all invested in our community and staying in our community. I think the more they feel they have the tools to improve and better serve our population, the more they’re going to be invested in staying here,” Perris says.

The program is open to up to 20 students and will officially launch this upcoming fall.