Newswise — With health care job vacancies reaching crisis levels – including critical shortages of physicians, nurses, and allied health personnel across the country – solutions to address the vacancies can come none too soon.

The new Health Workforce Information Center (HWIC),, provides information on health workforce solutions in one centralized and easy-to-access online location. Resources available through HWIC’s Web site will help health providers, journalists, educators, researchers and policymakers around the nation develop strategies to meet future workforce demands.

The site also offers free, customized assistance from information specialists (digital librarians), who will search databases on workforce topics and funding resources, furnish relevant publications, and connect users to workforce experts and federal programs, among others. Visitors will also have a broad range of publications and other resources at their fingertips.

UND has received a five-year, $3.75 million grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to establish HWIC, which will be based out of the school’s Center for Rural Health in Grand Forks. The project capitalizes on the Center’s expertise in producing and managing national information clearinghouses. The Center for Rural Health is one of the premier rural health organizations in the nation, home to the often-referenced Rural Assistance Center (RAC), a national online clearinghouse for rural health information that has received over 2.5 million visits from people in all 50 states and over 20 foreign countries, and a similar, soon-to-be released project for rural veteran information.

According to Dr. Mary Wakefield, UND associate dean for rural health, “The nation’s ‘information highway’ for health workforce information now starts in North Dakota – at UND’s doorstep. This initiative positions UND as a national resource for health workforce – providing information that will be used to make well-informed, good decisions – whether in hospitals, universities, or on Capitol Hill.

“An adequate supply of health care providers is essential to ensuring Americans have access to health care, yet, we have shortages across the nation. Sharing information ranging from cutting-edge training initiatives to state policy strategies at one central location – HWIC – is an efficient way for individuals to obtain timely and relevant workforce information.”

“We are delighted to join with the University of North Dakota to create the Health Care Workforce Information Center, a one-stop-shop for people seeking information about health workforce in America,” said Dr. Elizabeth Duke, HRSA Administrator. “HWIC can provide valuable information to health leaders across the country, ultimately increasing staffing, educational programs, and retention of health workers.”

“The designation as the nation’s Health Care Workforce Information Center is an excellent fit for North Dakota,” said Governor John Hoeven. “Our state is highly focused on health and other workforce issues, and the Center for Rural Health at UND will do an outstanding job of providing this important resource.”