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Through funding from Workforce Santa Cruz County (2021-2023) and the California Workforce Development Board, in partnership with the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, via the High Road Training Partnership’s Resilient Workforce Program (2023-2026), 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


The Santa Cruz County Health Workforce 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 healthcare employers, workers, training partners, and students to join this effort.

Hayley Mears, MA
Workforce Development Program Manager
ía Estela Jerezano
Program Coordinator


Health Workforce Council Tracks

  • IBHAC Workforce Sub-Meeting

  • Monterey Bay CHW Collaborative

  • Medical Assistants

  • Santa Cruz County Nursing Workforce Council

  • Primary Care Workforce

  • Surgical Technicians

Community Health Worker/Promotores
Resource Guide
Community Health Worker/Promotores
Career Pathway Flyer (English)
Community Health Worker/Promotores
Career Pathway Flyer (Spanish)
Medical Assistant
Best Practice Guide

Health Workforce


Nurse Week Proclamation

Nurses Financial
Resources Flyer

CWA Articulating Career Pathways: Medical Assistant
 Community Health Workers 


June 22nd, 2022

December 21st, 2022

September 28th, 2022

March 22nd, 2023

June 21st, 2023

Health Workforce Track Champions


Jasmine Nájera, LCSW, is the champion for the IBHAC Workforce Sub-Meeting Workgroup. She is the Chief Executive Officer at the Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance (PVPSA).

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Adrienne Saxton, MPH, CHES, is the champion for the Monterey Bay CHW Collaborative. She is a Health Science faculty member at Cabrillo College.

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Ashlyn James, CMA (AAMA), is the champion for the Medical Assistants Workgroup. She is the Medical Assisting Program Director and Department Chair at Cabrillo College.

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Cal Gordon, MD, is the champion for the Primary Care Workforce Workgroup. He is the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency Deputy Health Officer and CMS Medical Consultant.

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Anna Sutton, MSN, is the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency Director of Nursing.

Jo Coffaro is the Regional Vice President at the Hospital Council Northern & Central California.

They are the co-champions of the Santa Cruz County Nursing Workforce Council.

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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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