Health Workforce Strategic Plan

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

On October 26, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration, has released the HHS Health Workforce Strategic Plan.  

This Health Workforce Strategic Plan, required by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, provides a forward-looking framework for health workforce improvements, focused on four key goals:

This Strategic Plan will help coordinate efforts to address long-standing barriers to strengthening the health workforce. 

The Health Workforce Strategic Plan – 2021 is 80 pages in length. 

This Health Workforce Strategic Plan (Strategic Plan) provides a forward-looking framework for health workforce improvements, focused on four key goals: expanding supply, ensuring equitable distribution, improving quality, and enhancing the use of data and evidence to improve program outcomes. This Strategic Plan will facilitate coordinated and intentional efforts to address long-standing barriers to strengthening the health workforce – barriers that have been amplified by ongoing crises including the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the economic condition for lower and middle-income families, changing health impacts due to climate change, and the need to advance racial equity. This Strategic Plan also aligns with the National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness and Presidential Executive Orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, several of the Presidential Executive Orders1 task the Secretary of HHS as well as heads of other federal departments and agencies to develop plans and recommendations, and to take immediate actions for strengthening the public health workforce. Together, these efforts will provide continued opportunities for engagement of relevant stakeholders and refinement of the framework set forth in this Strategic Plan.

Following publication of this Strategic Plan, HHS will coordinate with other federal agencies that fund or administer health workforce development programs to implement the plan. Implementation will include evaluating performance of health workforce development programs, identifying opportunities to strengthen programs, to eliminate redundancies where possible, and to implement improvements. HHS will produce a report to Congress on those activities, as required by the CARES Act.