State leaders meet in Fresno to talk about healthcare workforce shortage

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- On Monday, Fresno hosted a state hearing to talk about a healthcare workforce shortage as well as social issues which impact children's lives.

"The fact that a quarter of the nation's food comes from the central valley but we're the third most food-insecure region in the nation is a shame," said Doctor Mark Ghaly.

Elected leaders from the state capitol came to Fresno to seek solutions to a healthcare workforce shortage and talk about the need to reach out to and recruit from under-represented communities.

"Primary care and behavioral health care providers are not as racially, ethnically and linguistically diverse as California. They do not look like California," said UCSF Doctor Janet Coffman.

The chance to speak out before lawmakers brought raw emotion.

"These are communities that for a long time historically had no voice so when we sit up here our voices tremble because we've been waiting so long to say stuff," said Lang Fang with The Fresno Center.

Many came to ask for expanded services and funding for projects important to their community.

Others spoke of the social determinants which have a direct impact on family health.

"We know that 52% of Fresnans in the city of Fresno do not live within walking distance of a quality park. Therefore, limiting their ability to engage in play," said Sandra Celedon with Building Healthy Communities.

Local groups also lined up for their chance to ask for funding for particular projects.

"Our food banks are having trouble having enough funds to be able to send those backpacks for those kids we know go hungry," said Lucia Vasquez with Equal Voice Network.

The committee will take into account all of the testimony heard Monday as they consider funding for projects around the state.
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