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March 2022

HPIO forum to address Ohio’s health workforce shortages

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio is hosting a free online forum on March 24, titled “Charting a Path Forward: Addressing Ohio’s Health Workforce Shortages.”

A strong health workforce is critical for improving health, achieving equity and attaining sustainable healthcare spending in Ohio. Workforce shortages in behavioral health, direct care and public health were a concern at the local, state and national level before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and have only gotten worse.

This online forum will explore the causes of the health workforce shortages in Ohio, how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the existing workforce crisis and potential policies and strategies for increasing and diversifying the workforce.

Register here

Speaking for the event include Teresa Lampl, Chief Executive Officer, The Ohio Council of Behavioral Health and Family Services Providers; Dr. Michelle Durham, Vice Chair of Education, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Medical Center; Ankit Sanghavi, ​Executive Director, Texas Health Institute and Brian Posey, Senior Legislative Representative, AARP.

The event will also include a panel discussion featuring Lori Criss, Director, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Ursel McElroy, Director, Ohio Department of Aging. 

CDC: More than 90% of Americans live in areas where masks not needed

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday said 93% of the U.S. population live in locations where COVID-19 levels are low enough that people do not need to wear masks indoors (Source: “More than 90% of U.S. population in areas where masks not needed -CDC,” Reuters, March 3).

Last week, the CDC dramatically eased its COVID-19 guidelines for when Americans should wear masks indoors, saying they could drop them in counties experiencing what it described as low or medium COVID-19 levels.

The latest figures are an increase from just a week ago, a further indication that COVID hospitalizations - a key benchmark for the new masking recommendations - continue to fall. The agency said on Thursday that 85.4% of counties now rank as low or medium risk and 92.9% of the population lives in those counties.

Study finds anxiety, depression spiked 25% in first year of pandemic

Rates of anxiety and depression rose by about 25% worldwide in the first year of Covid-19, another indication of the widespread harm on mental health inflicted by the pandemic (Source: “Hidden Harm: World Saw Spike in Anxiety, Depression in Covid’s First Year,” Bloomberg, March 2). 

Young people were at the greatest increased risk of suicide and self-harm, and women bore the brunt of the emotional and psychological burden, according to a report from the World Health Organization. People with chronic conditions such as asthma or cancer were also more likely to develop symptoms of mental disorders during the outbreak. 

Evidence of the ongoing toll of isolation, restrictions and financial worries are continuing to mount. The WHO report mirrors a study in The Lancet medical journal last year that found the pandemic had resulted in an extra 53.2 million cases of major depressive disorder and an extra 76.2 million cases of anxiety disorders globally.  

“The information we have now about the impact of Covid-19 on the world’s mental health is just the tip of the iceberg,” said WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He called on countries to pay more attention to mental health and provide support. An increasing number of people are using online help, but that’s a challenge in areas with limited resources. 

Reminder: HPIO seeking candidates for policy analyst position

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio is seeking applicants for a full-time health policy analyst position. The deadline for applications has been extended to March 7, 2022.

Health policy analysts at HPIO are key members of a highly collaborative team. They use data and research to think critically about complex health challenges and highlight solutions. The mission of HPIO is to advance evidence-informed policies that improve health, advance equity, and lead to sustainable healthcare spending.

Information about specific responsibilities and qualifications for the position, as well as how to apply, are posted on HPIO’s website.