The Center for Health and Care Work

Video highlighting the Center for Health and Care Work

Research addressing the unique opportunities and challenges of employees who provide direct care to others

The Center for Health and Care Work (CHCW) has as its primary aim the development and dissemination of research addressing the unique opportunities and challenges of professionals who provide healthcare and other forms of direct care to others. This is a large and growing workforce in the United States, encompassing jobs that cut across income and education levels, ranging from personal attendants and childcare workers to nurses and physicians. Enhancing the quality, size, and stability of this workforce touches on many of the central economic and social issues of our time, ranging from off-shoring to immigration, national competitiveness to shared prosperity and reducing the ranks of the working poor.

Seven of the ten fastest growing occupations in the United States are health and/or care professions. Due in part to growing demand, there are persistent difficulties recruiting direct care workers across a variety of occupational categories (e.g., nurses; home health workers; childcare workers; some physician specialties). The problems of job vacancies are compounded by high turnover in many direct care professions, with dramatic and negative consequences for consumers of these services, the workers themselves, the organizations that employ them, and society as a whole. There continue to be numerous public-and private-sector initiatives to retain direct care professionals, and growing interest in this workforce from federal and state agencies which provide significant funding streams for these services.

Research at the CHCW is focused on addressing questions such as:

  • How will changes in the demand and delivery of healthcare services affect the quality of care provided?
  • How can we more effectively address the problems of low-wage, low-skill workers in direct care?
  • How do public policy initiatives regarding immigration affect opportunities in the direct care workforce?
  • How can we develop and retain professionals who form the basis of a dynamic and competitive economy?