In partnership with Workforce Santa Cruz County, the Health Improvement Partnership of Santa Cruz County (HIP) aims to build, strengthen and diversify the Santa Cruz health workforce with qualified individuals who can best support and provide health services - in home, community clinics, or medical offices - to the community.

Our Goals


  • Increase opportunities for Santa Cruz residents to advance in health professions

  • Align and expand education and training through pipeline programs, work-based learning, and continued professional development


Get Involved


HIP and Workforce Santa Cruz County are focused on bolstering the health workforce and health care delivery by establishing a Santa Cruz Health Workforce Council. The council will be structured to reflect a comprehensive representation of healthcare workforce issues, with the purpose of mobilizing leaders and organizations to collaborate and invest in local planning for the future of the healthcare workforce in our county.  We are seeking interested employers and training partners to join this effort. This effort is funded by the Santa Cruz County Government Board of Supervisors.  

Hayley Mears, MA
Workforce Development Program Manager

Empathy Effect:

Countering Bias to Improve Health Outcomes

Our Trainers

Martha P. Quintana


Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust

Maritza Lara



HIP supports the development of a strong, knowledgeable workforce through programs that enhance the skills of healthcare providers, non-licensed clinical staff, and management. The number of Full Time Equivalents licensed health care providers in the Safety Net Clinic Coalition (SNCC) grew by 157% from 2012-2016. Although the safety net workforce has grown, workforce supply and demand continues to be a priority for local healthcare leaders.


In November 2017, the Health Improvement Partnership and the Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust sent a dynamic pair of nurses, Martha Quintana and Maritza Lara, to an Institute for Health Care Communication (IHC) “train the trainer” workshop titled, The Empathy Effect (EE) Countering Bias to Improve Health Outcomes. The goal of the EE workshop is to enable health center staff to improve their empathy conveyance skills. This free, one day, 4.5-hour workshop is fast- paced, interactive, and allows participants to practice skills and techniques in a safe, structured environment.

The Empathy Effect workshop guides team members as they examine their own beliefs and biases that may get in the way of compassionate care for all patients. While most people who work in healthcare are drawn to direct patient/client service, few have exposure to intentional training focused on evidence-based communication and models for interacting with patients/clients.

The EE workshop is based on three foundational premises:

  1. Empathy is healing, and judgment is harmful;

  2. Vulnerable populations experience greater harm by judgment and lack of empathy; and

  3. We all have judgments, and we can learn to mitigate them.


The EE content aims to boost personal self-awareness and communication skills for clinicians and clinic staff to heighten patients’ sense of empathy. Applying empathetic skills with both patients and staff can also improve employees’ own experience of their work.

For more information or to sign up for a training, please contact Maritza at or 831-430-5597.

Safety Net Workforce Diversification

Sponsored by:

The goal of the Safety Net Workforce Diversification project is to improve access to training and education for underrepresented populations in the healthcare workforce by providing training, opportunities for peer learning, tools, and resource sharing that supports SNCC member organizations. In addition, this project aims to provide SNCC leadership with training and best practices concerning the titles, roles, training curriculum, recruitment, and retention strategies for non-licensed staff (e.g., community health workers, health navigators, and health coaches.).


Coming soon!