Healthcare careers expects to see big demand with new laws

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Dec 5, 2013, 10:00 a.m.

GateWay Community College played host to Maricopa Community College District’s annual Allied Health Summit, Nov. 7, in recognition of Allied Health Professions Week.

Originally started to provide additional leadership, educational and professional development for students district-wide, the summit has expanded to provide allied health professionals with what’s new and future trends in allied health professions.  

Nearly 100 professionals came together at GateWay where they were able to earn continuing education credit and learn the impact of the new Affordable Care Act in Arizona, as well as what to expect in terms of careers in demand.

Students and faculty from throughout the District were able to participate in workshops, learn more about university transfer options and meet with prospective employers as well.

Kim VanPelt, director of Arizona Health Futures at St. Luke’s Health Initiatives, and Dr. Keith Lindor, executive vice provost for the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University, presented on trends in healthcare education and the new Affordable Care law.

Van Pelt said the new law provides for an opportunity to improve the coordination of care, chronic disease management and disease prevention.  With a focus on prevention, the need for qualified allied health professionals will only increase.

“There will be a large shortage of health professionals, so public health schools will have to triple the number of graduates to meet the projected needs,” said VanPelt.  She added that the way healthcare is delivered will be more of a team approach, too.

Lindor concurred, and added that based on future needs projected growth for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations is expected to grow more than 20 percent, with healthcare support occupations growing nearly 30 percent. 

Allied health usually includes all healthcare careers that support a broad health spectrum, so the allied health professions encompass dental hygienists, radiology technicians, EMTs, physical therapy assistants and many more professions.

The Maricopa Community Colleges offers nearly 50 allied health programs, with GateWay alone providing nearly half of those programs.  For more information on GateWay’s healthcare programs, visit gatewaycc.edu/healthcare.

During the event, GateWay President Steven Gonzales remarked, “With all the activity in health education and new companies and clinics, like the recently opened HUG Clinic and Mountain Park’s new clinic under way, Van Buren may one day be known as a health education and provider hub.