20 March 2020

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With global health at the forefront of everybody's minds, we asked one of our members who works in this field to tell us about her career.  Dr Kate Tulenko (1993) is a physician & health workforce expert focused on scaling up physician and nursing education to ensure that all people have access to health workers.

A screengrab of a middle–aged woman with long brown hair speaking to a camera, with a map of the world on a screen behind her.The World Health Organization estimates that 1 billion people alive today will never see a health worker their entire life.  The world does not have enough health workers to meet its needs, especially with the aging of populations. As a physician and health workforce expert, I have the privilege of serving at the forefront of global efforts to train, support, and retain more health workers.

I served in the World Bank as Coordinator of the Africa Health Workforce Program, and worked with Ministries of Finance, Health, & Education to train and retain more doctors, nurses, and other health workers.  I served as the Director of the US Government’s Global Health Workforce Program. This was a six–year, $60 million program that worked in Latin America, Africa, and Asia to train more health workers. It made noted advances & innovations in the way health professional schools are designed & managed, in how health workers are retained in under–served communities, and how they are supported to provide high quality care. I co–led the World Health Organization’s team that calculated that there would be shortage of 18 million health workers globally by 2030. 

In 2017, I founded Corvus Health, a social enterprise aimed at ensuring every person has access to high quality health workers.  I am currently working on an initiative with Operation Smile, to start dozens of surgical training programs and nursing schools in low income countries. We are pursuing a bold vision to build a single online training program for nurses, accessible to all nursing schools, that will be coupled with mentored clinical training in local hospitals.

Only by combining high-tech with high–touch will we be able to train enough health workers to meet the needs of every community. 

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