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 County healthcare workforce with qualified individuals who can best support and provide health services to the community.

Our Goals


  • Increase opportunities for Santa Cruz County 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 County Health Workforce Council. The council is 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

María Estela Jerezano
Program Assistant


Health Workforce Council Tracks

  • Behavioral Health & Health Social Workers

  • Community Health Workers

  • Medical Assistants

  • Nurses

  • Pediatricians & Pediatric Workforce

  • Surgical Technicians

Health Workforce Council Meeting
June 22nd, 2022

Health Workforce Council Meeting
September 28th, 2022

Health Workforce Track Champions

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Behavioral Health & Health Social Workers
Holly Hughes, LCSW
Principal, HH & Co.
Chief Program Officer
Janus of Santa Cruz

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Community Health Workers
Adrienne Saxton, MPH, CHES
Health Science Faculty
Cabrillo College

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April LoFranco, BSN, RN

Associate Faculty Internship/Residency Liaison
Dominican Hospital Telemetry Registered Nurse and 
Cabrillo College Nursing Program

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Medical Assistants
Ashlyn James, CMA (AAMA)
Medical Assisting
Program Director/Department Chair 

Cabrillo College

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Past Partnerships

HIP began communication with the county workforce development boards of Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara, in 2016 to identify gaps in our local healthcare workforce that could be addressed by the Central Coast Slingshot Initiative, a regional grant program to develop mid- to high-skilled professionals, alleviate workforce shortages, promote income mobility, and accelerate economic growth on the Central Coast. With the awarded grant, HIP worked in collaboration with local partners to identify a lack of community health workers in the region performing public health outreach and care coordination. As a result, HIP teamed up with Cabrillo College to establish the county’s first community health worker certificate track.

HIP supports the development of a strong, knowledgeable workforce through programs that enhance the skills of all health workers. In 2017, HIP began offering an Institute for Health Care Communication workshop titled, The Empathy Effect (EE) Countering Bias to Improve Health Outcomes. The goal of the workshop is to enable health center staff to improve their empathy conveyance skills and is based on the ideas that empathy is healing, and judgment is harmful; vulnerable populations experience greater harm by judgment and lack of empathy, and we all have judgments, and we can learn to mitigate them.

Sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, 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 support Safety Net Clinic Coalition (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).

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Eric Conrad BSN, RN, CEN

Interim Chief Nursing Officer

Dignity Health Dominican Hospital