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North Dakota Beginning to Address Health Care Worker Shortage

September 29, 2008

Bismarck, ND – There is a growing shortage of trained healthcare professionals in North Dakota. The problem has become so acute that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has provided a $1.2 million grant to the University of North Dakota to fund Area Health Education Centers that will provide community-based training for a new generation of healthcare workers.

Bart Hallberg with the Community Healthcare Association of the Dakotas warns the shortage is coming at a time when demand for services will be ballooning.

"We are now at the stage where the many Baby Boomers in this country reach retirement age and obviously then require more healthcare services."

He says despite offering good pay and facilities, the state's Community Health Centers find it hard to recruit people for all types of positions--and North Dakota isn't alone.

"The shortage is here. I don't think there is a state in the union that can avoid this current healthcare workforce shortage."

Hallberg says the Area Health Education Centers will be strategically located across the state. They will develop health career awareness programs for pre-college students and clinical opportunities for students in the healthcare field.

Dick Layman/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - ND