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Pioneering research on IHSS training

CCA Partners with J-PAL North America at MIT for Groundbreaking IHSS Training Evaluation

In collaboration with the Center for Caregiver Advancement (CCA), the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) North America at MIT will conduct the nation’s first randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the impact of CCA’s training on In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) workers. This pioneering study aims to delve into both the caregiving and healthcare outcomes of the training, marking a significant step forward in workforce development and healthcare research.

The RCT is part of CCA’s “Upskilling IHSS Providers in San Bernardino” project, funded by the California Workforce Development Board’s High Road Training Partnership (HRTP). It will evaluate data from CCA’s 35-hour IHSS Essentials course, which equips caregivers with critical skills and knowledge in areas such as infection control, medication safety, activities of daily living, mandated documentation, self-care, and more.

“We are proud to work with the J-PAL team on this groundbreaking randomized evaluation on IHSS training,” said Corinne Eldridge, CCA President and CEO. “This joint project validates the critical role that home care workers play in keeping older adults and people with disabilities out of institutional care. We know that access to high-quality training programs not only contributes to increased worker retention but also facilitates recruitment in a field facing a care crisis.” 

This study addresses a critical gap in research as no prior RCTs have been conducted on IHSS training or any home care training programs, according to Matt Notowidigdo, PhD, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Co-Scientific Director of J-PAL North America.

In an era where job training initiatives predominantly focus on reskilling workers in fields like technology and IT, this project underscores the importance of evaluating training programs within the healthcare sector.

“Healthcare is just as important, especially direct care, as it is very much the future of work. It means we, as academic researchers, have an obligation to evaluate different kinds of training programs to study their impact on healthcare workers and the people they care for,” said Notowidigdo. “CCA is the perfect partner for this as they are pioneers in this space.”

The randomized controlled trial will operate on a cohort basis, with participants selected at random for the IHSS training, while others will be part of a control group. Each cohort will serve as a sub-study, and participants will be followed for a full year post-training. This comprehensive approach includes surveys, administrative data from the state of California, and access to Medicare and Medicaid data of the individuals receiving care.

The primary goal is to observe the impact of training on both IHSS workers and the individuals they care for. The evaluation will assess healthcare utilization, costs, and outcomes on the IHSS consumer side, including factors such as hospitalization rates and preventable incidents like accidents and falls. On the caregiver side, the RCT will examine worker attachment to the job, duration of employment, job satisfaction, confidence, and various aspects of mental health such as stress and anxiety.

“There are reasons to think training helps caregivers feel better about the job, more confident, and more comfortable which helps them stay in their job longer,” said Notowidigdo.

CCA’s work with other university-based research institutes shows that caregivers report post-training confidence in their ability to do their jobs. CCA regularly evaluates the value of its training programs on the workforce and the quality of care through impact studies in partnership with academic institutions and research organizations. UC San Francisco’s Institute on Health and Aging studies CCA’s caregiver training on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. Vital Research analyzed data for the Caregiver Resiliency Teams Impact Study and is doing the same for the Career Pathways Program.

CCA’s curriculum and program design relies on evidence-informed practice, using results from these impact studies, qualitative research, and subject matter expert opinion, to guide the training framework. The findings from the RCT, combined with CCA’s existing body of research, will move the evidence base into actionable strategies and policy that will advance workforce development for long-term care workers.

For Notowidigdo and his research team, the rarity of the intersection between labor and healthcare research makes this project even more significant. The study not only explores the impact of the training on healthcare outcomes but also considers its influence on the labor market.

“(California’s) IHSS program and the innovative training provided by the Center for Caregiver Advancement represent promising models for other states around the country that are considering new programs to support in-home caregiving,” said Notowidigdo.

Dementia training for family caregivers

UC IRVINE AND CENTER FOR CAREGIVER ADVANCEMENT LAUNCH DEMENTIA TRAINING COURSES TO ADDRESS FUTURE DEMAND

Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease in California to Increase 20% by 2025

LOS ANGELES, CA – [February 9, 2014] – To meet the anticipated growing number of dementia and Alzheimer’s cases in California, the University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine), the Center for Caregiver Advancement (CCA), and Alzheimer’s Orange County have announced the launch of a free eight-module virtual training course for caregivers of those diagnosed with dementia in southern California. A 2023 report from the Alzheimer’s Association predicts cases of Alzheimer’s disease in California will increase by more than 20% between 2020 and 2025.

To meet the increasing anticipated needs of populations diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, the number of caregivers must grow significantly. Currently, more than 11 million Americans provide unpaid care for a family member or friend with dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

In California, more than 1 million Alzheimer’s caregivers provide 1.8 billion hours of unpaid care. Caregiving can have a profound impact on the health of the individual providing the care, associated with higher levels of depression, anxiety, medication use, compromised immune function, and vulnerability to elder abuse.

CCA’s multi-week, virtual evidence-based caregiver training, was developed in collaboration with UCI Health geriatricians, Alzheimer’s Orange County, and funded by a California Department of Public Health grant. The live training will be offered via Zoom and participants can enroll now through March 2024. To qualify for the free training, participants must be either an unpaid caregiver for persons with dementia or a family member designated as the caregiver for persons with dementia (paid or unpaid) living in Southern California.

The program will train caregivers on effective communication strategies to support activities of daily living (ADLs), safety, and the management of symptoms and distress for those diagnosed with ADRD (Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias). Caregivers will learn how to prevent caregiver burnout and stress mitigation. Caregivers will also learn proactive strategies to prevent challenging situations and reduce caregiving stress.

The course is specifically designed for family (or unpaid) caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD).

CCA, with its expertise in curriculum development and caregiver training programs, will deliver the training in English and Spanish. CCA’s ADRD program for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers has proven to impact those who completed the training: 96% say they learned new skills and 94% say their communication with the person they’re caring for improved.

UC Irvine will conduct an educational assessment of the family caregiver training program, comparing caregiver health and stress levels before and after training, as well as skills and knowledge competency. The assessment will also evaluate caregiver behavior change to measure the impact of the training on the person receiving care.

About the Center for Caregiver Advancement

The Center for Caregiver Advancement (CCA), is the largest provider of training for caregivers in California and has trained more than 20,000 nursing home workers and in-home caregivers. advancecaregivers.org The CCA is committed to improving care and building better lives for caregivers in California and the people they serve. We measure our impact through improved wages and career development for caregivers, the quality of care for their consumers, and reducing the stress on California’s over-burdened healthcare system.

About the University of California, Irvine Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology

The Division of Geriatric Medicine & Gerontology at the UCI School of Medicine is made up of an interdisciplinary group of professionals whose mission is to address the changing health needs of older adults and those who love them. We are committed to delivering high-quality, comprehensive care in a variety of settings and to providing leadership in geriatric education, research, advocacy, and community outreach. The skill and dedication of our physicians to elder care has led to UCI Medical Center being named repeatedly as one of the nation’s best hospitals for geriatric care by U.S. News & World Report.

Moving the work of advancing caregivers

2023 was a year of remarkable growth for our organization and for the long-term care workforce. The state’s extension of the Career Pathways Program, funding of the CNA Registered Apprenticeship Program, and continued investment in specialized caregiver training show the growing recognition of the value of training caregivers. All of these align with our commitment to advancing the professionalization of long-term care work. 

As we look ahead to 2024, we remain committed to setting the standard for caregiver training and building a workforce of highly trained caregivers that many Californians can’t live without. 

2023 HIGHLIGHTS:

Language equity: We continue to address the need for equitable access to training by providing our programs in multiple languages. We increased our language offerings to eight: English, Spanish, Armenian, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, Russian and Vietnamese. This ensures training and continuing education courses are accessible for IHSS workers who are most comfortable learning in a language other than English.

Nationally recognized curriculum: Our training programs are evidence-based, refined through worker feedback, and backed by our impact studies. Our specialized curriculum has been licensed by organizations outside California, utilizing our experience and expertise to support sister training funds and union workers across the country. 

Condition-specific training: We offer condition-specific training courses to equip caregivers with the skills and knowledge they need to provide quality care. IHSS providers can enroll in courses that teach them essential skills, basic health and safety, emergency preparedness, as well as condition-specific knowledge (Alzheimer’s and related dementia, autism, diabetes, heart disease, traumatic brain injury). 

SNF industry solutions: Since the launch of the CNA Registered Apprenticeship Program earlier this year, we have trained and placed Certified Nurse Assistants at skilled nursing facilities across the state. We also now run our own CDPH-approved NATP as a hybrid offering to alleviate some of the barriers workers face, such as demanding schedules and transportation needs. 

Climate-resilient workforce: We released our Impact Report and hosted an Impact Study Briefing about the outcomes of our pioneering Caregiver Resiliency Teams project, underscoring the importance of investing in caregiver workforce training to build a climate-resilient California. cca.fyi/crtimpact  

Stipends for specialized skills: Part of our long-term goal of linking specialized skills to increased wages for caregivers, stipends are a hallmark of our training programs. 

  • IHSS providers: Paid the hourly wage rate of their hours in training
  • CNA Registered Apprenticeship Program participants: Receive stipends for child care, transportation and grocery expenses, as well as retention bonuses.  

LOOKING AHEAD: WHAT’S IN STORE FOR 2024

Groundbreaking research: We are partnering with the renowned J-PAL North America at MIT, which will conduct a randomized control trial on our IHSS Essentials training program in San Bernardino County. This will be the first RCT across the nation on IHSS training. The RCT, along with the impact study from UC San Francisco on the ADRD training, will lay the foundation for policy change that will recognize worker specializations, improve worker retention, create advancement within the home care workforce, and secure long-term funding for caregiver training. 

Upskilling the IHSS workforce: We will deliver IHSS Essentials, Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia care, and Caregiver Resiliency training to IHSS providers in San Bernardino County, addressing the need for highly trained caregivers in under-invested communities. Access to this specialized Alzheimer’s training is especially important to support the caregivers caring for those with ADRD in San Bernardino. Given the extreme heat the region experienced in 2023, the Caregiver Resiliency training will give IHSS providers an increased understanding of climate change impact and the skills they need to address climate-related emergencies. 

Training for unpaid family caregivers: We are excited to start providing Alzheimer’s and dementia care training for unpaid family caregivers in the Inland Empire. This project is in partnership with CDPH and UC Irvine, which will research the impact and value of the training program. Classes begin in February.

Impact studies: We will continue to measure the impact of our training programs through knowledge checks and pre- and post-training surveys. Through our relationships with academic institutions and research organizations such as UC San Francisco and UC Irvine, we can demonstrate how our customized training programs advance quality care, improve retention, and reframe the value of care work.

Elevating care: Now on the seventh year of our partnership with L.A. Care, we continue to elevate the quality of care the health plan’s members receive from their IHSS providers. L.A. Care’s utilization studies of the training’s impact have consistently shown a decrease in emergency department visits and inpatient utilization among members whose caregivers completed our training.

Multi-week training for San Bernardino caregivers

Free Training Programs for San Bernardino County Caregivers Address Need for Specialized Skills on Alzheimer’s Care and Climate-Related Emergency Preparedness

Free specialized training courses are launching this January for caregivers in San Bernardino County. These multi-week, competency-based training programs are offered at no cost to the county’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers by the Center for Caregiver Advancement (CCA) through a grant from the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) and High Road Training Partnership (HRTP). 

Caregivers can enroll in one of three programs: IHSS Essentials, Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia (ADRD), and Caregiver Resiliency / Emergency Preparedness. The sessions will be offered in English and Spanish.

The Essentials course will teach caregivers about medication safety, nutrition, assistance with activities of daily living, and communication skills. Caregivers in the ADRD course will learn how to recognize signs of Alzheimer’s, as well as how to manage symptoms such as hallucination, sundowning, and behavioral changes. The Caregiver Resiliency course will help caregivers with climate-related emergency preparedness and response and how to recover from post-disaster trauma.

Henrene Barris, an IHSS provider in San Bernardino, is looking forward to the training. “It is important for in-home caregivers to have training programs available so we can provide quality care. CCA’s curriculum is so detailed and relevant. The multi-week format allows for more interaction, more time for learning, and more knowledge to be shared,” says Barris, who helped shape the project as a member of the Advisory Committee.

In addition to providing these three programs to San Bernardino’s IHSS caregivers, CCA will conduct a randomized control trial in partnership with researchers affiliated with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) North America at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This will be the first RCT on IHSS training. Building on CCA’s existing research, the study will lay the foundation for policy change that will recognize worker specializations, improve worker retention, create advancement within the home care workforce, and secure long-term funding for caregiver training. 

“We are excited to be a part of the first-ever randomized evaluation of training for IHSS providers. We are looking forward to studying the impacts on the workforce of caregivers who receive the training as well as the individuals who are cared for by the caregivers. The IHSS program and the innovative training provided by the Center for Caregiver Advancement represent promising models for other states around the country that are considering new programs to support in-home caregiving,” says Matt Notowidigdo, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Co-Scientific Director of J-PAL North America.

UC San Francisco will conduct an impact study on the Alzheimer’s program. CCA is the only organization within California utilizing an evidence-informed curriculum that has already been tested and delivered to thousands of IHSS providers in California.

“We continually push to advance the caregiving workforce through an evidence-informed approach. Our goal is to shift the narrative on the professionalization and value of the workforce. Access to training provides IHSS providers with opportunities for advancement within IHSS. The specialized training on Alzheimer’s focuses on much-needed skills critical to providing care in under-invested communities where rates of Alzheimer’s are increasing. And our Caregiver Resiliency program gives IHSS providers an increased understanding of climate change impact and the skills they need to address climate-related emergencies that impact the consumers that they serve,” says Corinne Eldridge, President and CEO. 

CCA links skill development with increased wages: Caregivers will be paid their hourly wages for their time in training. Those who complete the program can earn between $700 and $1,400.

ABOUT CCA: The Center for Caregiver Advancement is the largest provider of training for caregivers in California and has trained more than 20,000 nursing home workers and in-home caregivers. Advancecaregivers.org

A milestone celebration for IHSS caregivers

None of CCA’s IHSS training courses is complete without a virtual graduation ceremony. Each trimester culminates with this special celebration that, to some, may be their first-ever graduation.

It’s an occasion for caregivers to take center stage, to have their moment to shine and acknowledge their hard work and successes. Participants are given the chance to speak about their experiences in the course and discuss the impact of the skills acquired in the program with their fellow graduates. 

Tondaris Southward, an IHSS Provider who shared about her experience at her graduation, said, “I learned how to be more aware of client needs.” She mentioned that the lessons related to body mechanics, in particular, were the most beneficial for her and she was able to implement what she learned in the course right away in her role as a caregiver. 

IHSS Bilingual Mandarin Class Graduation photo with Sherry Wu

The CEO of L.A. Care Health Plan, John Baackes, attended one of the graduation ceremonies held this December. 

“This program is very important to your clients but also to you as the caregivers,” he told the class. “It gives you a leg up in your professionalism and your self-confidence. And if you have more confidence, your consumer will be confident in you!” 

“Whatever you learned here will help your client immensely,” he said. “I am convinced that during the pandemic, this program saved lives.”  

L.A. Care has partnered with CCA to provide free training to the IHSS providers who care for L.A. Care Health Plan members. Since the partnership began seven years ago, nearly 6,000 IHSS providers have completed the training under this program.

In addition to student success, another benefit to this partnership is caregiver satisfaction. According to post-training survey responses, 99% of the students believe that participating in the training was helpful to them in their roles as caregivers. 

IHSS Bilingual Spanish Graduation photo with Samuel Kwon

Resources beyond the classroom

Many graduates shared that the training equipped them with richer knowledge of how to communicate with their consumers. IHSS provider Arlene Alfaro said she learned “to have more communication with the consumer and to build more trust with [them]. Based on the skills you taught us and the things we learned in the book, I built a better relationship with my consumer,” Arlene told her instructors during her graduation. 

As a part of the material taught in class, participants are given additional resources that they may use in their caregiving careers beyond the classroom, such as nurse hotline numbers to call in case they need advice. “I learned about the other services that are available to us,” said Maria Martinez during her graduation speech. 

Additionally, the training provides caregivers a platform to meet others in the caregiving profession and establish connections that last beyond their time in the training. Another caregiver spoke about how she was positively surprised about how much she enjoyed the breakout rooms portion of the coursework because she was able to interact and establish connections with other caregivers. 

Honoring the families who care for those with Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is more than a mere diagnosis for countless families globally; it marks the beginning of a life-altering journey that exacts a toll on their emotional, mental, and physical well-being. The role of a caregiver is demanding, requiring immense patience and empathy. It often involves witnessing a loved one’s cognitive decline, which can be heart-wrenching. 

“There are times … my dad would wake up and knock on my door in the middle of the night and ask me, ‘How is your mom? You have any information about your mom?’ My mom has passed away for many years,” says Qi Zhen Louie, an In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) provider who has taken CCA’s Alzheimer’s care training.

More than a quarter of the IHSS providers in the program take care of a parent with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. Like Qi Zhen, caregivers are often children, or even spouses or close friends, who step into this role out of love and commitment. And, often, they do so without the training necessary to help them adapt to the ever-changing needs of their loved ones.

The Alzheimer’s care training helped Qi Zhen understand the symptoms and stages of the disease. “Now, I am more patient, and it helps with my communication with my dad,” she says. “Before, as soon as he threw a tantrum, I felt very upset …But I learned from (CCA’s) teachers a lot, and also from the sharing of our peers, the students. After the training, I have a lot of positive energy. And I’m able to understand some things that I did not know before.”

(Note to reader: Qi Zhen did this interview with a Cantonese interpreter).

CNA Apprenticeship Strengthens Nursing Staff

Apprenticeship programs, such as CCA’s Certified Nurse Assistant Registered Apprenticeship Program (CNA RAP), have proven to be a game-changer in preparing much-needed CNAs for the demanding roles they play within skilled nursing facilities. The earn-and-learn model inspires higher levels of performance amongst apprentices, increases productivity, and enhances their problem-solving ability. Because the apprentices become skilled, enculturated, engaged and loyal employees, apprenticeship programs can help reduce staff turnover and improve recruitment.

Since the first cohort of apprentices started their CNA training through CCA’s apprenticeship program earlier this year, 18 have been promoted to a CNA role and are now working at a partner facility. An additional 20 apprentices have completed their training and are either waiting for the results of their CNA certification exam or in the process of scheduling their exam date.

Duane Esquer, Nursing Home Administrator at College Vista Post Acute (a Sun Mar Healthcare facility) in Los Angeles, said, “The benefit of this apprenticeship program for our facility is that we get to increase our staffing so that we’re not struggling with turnover… This program has really had a positive effect on job satisfaction.”

Watch how the CNA Registered Apprenticeship Program has made an impact.

College Vista Post Acute’s parent company, Sun Mar Healthcare, is our inaugural corporate employer to partner with CCA for this apprenticeship program. In 2022, CCA received a $14 million High Road Training Partnership (HRTP) grant from the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) to add 500 CNAs and 12 LVNs to the skilled nursing facility workforce in three years to help address an industry-wide staffing shortage. In partnership with employers and SEIU Local 2015, the apprenticeship program offers the CNA and LVN training at no cost to participants and guarantees them a job and wage increase when they pass their state exam.

Another employer group Pursue Healthcare also joined the partnership in 2023 and now has a few apprentices working as CNAs, with more are on track to complete classes, pass the state exam, and be promoted to CNA in the coming months. More employers are slated to join in 2024.

There is a clear demand for the training program: the wait list of interested candidates has grown to over 500.

Chrystal Miranda, an apprenticeship program graduate who is now a CNA at College Vista Post Acute, shares her journey: “I don’t think it would have been possible if I did not have this program. I have a daughter at home, so financial stability was always a top priority for me. It was really awesome that they were able to help me out. I didn’t have to worry about one thing or another. I could completely focus on just getting my studying done.”

Watch Chrystal’s story.

All tuition and related expenses are covered so participants do not pay for anything out of their own pockets. They also receive stipends to cover the cost of child care, transportation, and groceries so they can focus on learning in the classroom and practicing their skills during clinicals.

The apprenticeship program offers invaluable hands-on experience, allowing learners to work alongside experienced nursing staff. But the support doesn’t end there. CCA’s CNA program provides one-on-one mentorship to the newly promoted CNAs so they can build the confidence they need to excel in a healthcare setting. Aside from mentorship, the new CNAs also receive retention bonuses throughout their first six months of employment and access to free high-quality training through their SEIU 2015 Education Fund. They can access free continuing education classes, obtain their Restorative Nurse Assistant (RNA) Certificate, get certified in CPR, and many other trainings.

Duane Esquer said all the elements of the apprenticeship program – especially the partnership between the nursing home employers, the union, and CCA – greatly benefit the workers, the facilities and, most importantly, the residents.

“The students who then turn into Certified Nurse Assistants hit the ground running because they’ve had the education, they’ve had the training, they’ve been working directly with our current staff. So it flows very well,” Esquer says. “We’re invested in their success because when they win, we win, and at the end of the day, the residents win the most. They get caring individuals who want to be working in this industry, who want to be a CNA. And we’re so excited to see how this program will grow and continue to succeed and hopefully help other facilities and other companies, and at the end of the day give people opportunities in healthcare that they may have not had before.”

CCA Welcomes New Board Members!

CCA is proud to welcome four new members to our Board of Directors. They represent organizations that champion health equity, social justice, and workforce development. Their expertise in their respective fields, along with their commitment to the well-being of long-term care workers and the individuals they serve, will help guide our work of advancing the caregiving workforce.

Jennifer Schlesinger
Vice President, Healthcare Services & Professional Training, Alzheimer’s Los Angeles

Jennifer Schlesinger, Vice President Alzheimer's Greater Los Angeles

Jennifer Schlesinger is the Vice President of Healthcare Services & Professional Training for Alzheimer’s Los Angeles, a nonprofit organization committed to supporting, educating, and empowering local families as they face the everyday challenges of dementia. Jennifer works on state-level advocacy to improve dementia care within healthcare, especially for lower-income older adults. She oversees technical assistance to healthcare systems to improve their dementia capability, professional training, and outreach to healthcare professionals. Jennifer oversees multiple nationally-recognized and award-winning projects including the Dementia Cal MediConnect Project, a project transforming healthcare in the State of California for low-income older adults with dementia, and ALZ Direct Connect®, a care coordination program which connects families dealing with dementia to Alzheimer’s Los Angeles.

Jennifer says, “Caregivers are our backbone. They do the most precious work in our families and communities and yet are often unrecognized and underappreciated. CCA is a vehicle to elevate caregivers and hold them up with the dignity and respect that they deserve.”

Jennifer is a founder of The ReelAbilities Film Festival Los Angeles, which is dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with disabilities.  In her free time, she continues to volunteer as a ReelAbilities steering committee member. 

Carmen Roberts
Executive Vice President, SEIU 2015

Carmen Roberts, Executive Vice President SEIU Local 2015

Carmen Roberts is the first from-the-ranks SEIU 2015 member to be elevated to the position of Executive Vice President of the statewide union representing California’s long-term care workers. A longtime member of the union’s Bargaining Committee for Los Angeles County IHSS providers, Carmen has served on the union’s Executive Board for nearly a decade, and became a Regional Vice President for L.A. County in 2017, and most recently became the union’s very first statewide member leader for home care: First Vice President, Home Care Industry. 

As Executive Vice President, Carmen draws on all her personal experience as a caregiver to this role. Carmen continues her commitment to building power and bringing structural change to the long-term care industry. 

Carmen is looking forward to bringing that dedication to CCA as a board member. “Too many care providers haven’t enough access to the quality, affordable training necessary to provide the best possible care. As a former care provider, I’ll work with CCA to provide increased availability of training. That’s key to ensuring long-term care is recognized as a real career…where young people will say ‘I want to go into long-term care work’ like others choose engineering, medicine, and law,” she says.

Padmini Parthasarathy
Principal and Founder, Sāmya Strategies

Padmini Parthasarathy, Principal & Founder Samya Strategies

Padmini Parthasarathy is a social sector leader with a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of health equity and economic, racial, and gender justice. She is committed to cultivating systems and structures that honor those interconnections. In 2021, Padmini founded Sāmya Strategies to more directly channel her passions and expertise toward these efforts.

“I am looking forward to learning more from CCA and my fellow board members about how to ensure quality jobs for direct care workers in California and working together to make that happen!,” she says.

Padmini has a proven record of success in advancing justice, equity, and well-being across philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, and local government. In addition to leading her consulting firm, she serves as the Bay Area Program Officer for Asset Funders Network. Prior to her current roles, she served as strategist for justice, equity, and learning and senior program officer for economic security at the Walter & Elise Haas Fund and as a program director at The California Wellness Foundation overseeing statewide grantmaking to advance the Affordable Care Act and health care reform and promote employment and asset-building opportunities. Before that, Padmini was a program manager for Kaiser Permanente, where she managed its first nationwide Community Health Needs Assessment. She also led an initiative to incorporate asset building and social determinants of health approaches into maternal and child health programs for Contra Costa Health Services.

Zima Creason
Executive Director of the California EDGE Coalition

Zima Creason, Executive Director, California Edge Coalition

Zima Creason is the Executive Director of the California EDGE Coalition and President of the San Juan Unified Board of Education. At EDGE, her work seeks to address workforce shortages in high-road industries, create pathways to the middle class, and to advance shared prosperity for all Californians. She is committed to stakeholder empowerment and coalition building to establish and sustain thriving communities. Zima has worked in the policy field since 2001 and much of her work has focused on equity as it relates to mental health policy as well as community outreach and engagement. She is dedicated to supporting people to avoid crisis outcomes, social justice, and for all Americans to have access and opportunity to achieve the American Dream regardless of their zip code, culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, health/mental health status, gender identification and/or who they love.

Zima is looking forward to making an impact on the long-term care workforce. “As a CCA board member, I am eager to champion the essential caregiver workforce that all Californians rely on. Their dedication not only improves the lives of those they care for but also uplifts the well-being of countless families, many of whom are part of the workforce. Together, we will enhance the value of caregiving and create pathways to economic advancement for this indispensable workforce,” she says.

They join current Board members Jeffrey Phillip Forrest of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Kim Evon of SEIU 2015, Jim Mangia of St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, and Silvia Yee of the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund.

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