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PHI Launches Direct Care Worker Equity Institute

Institute is dedicated to addressing the systemic inequities and profound disparities facing the direct care workers sector

black woman and her nurse

February 28, 2022  – In February 2022, PHI announced the launch of a new initiative geared towards addressing inequities in the direct care workforce. Dubbed the Direct Care Worker Equity Institute, PHI aims to tackle these challenges and create a stronger direct care sector. 

The Direct Care Worker Equity Institute is designed to address the systemic inequities found in the direct care workforce. It will do so by compiling publications and resources, producing research studies, creating advocacy tools, and designing workforce interventions. All of the initiatives will have one focus – achieving equity for the direct care workforce.

“For too long, direct care workers have faced a range of systemic inequities that harm their quality of life and devalue the direct care job,” said Jodi M. Sturgeon, president of PHI. She added, “The Direct Care Worker Equity Institute further cements equity in all of PHI’s strategies to transform this job and strengthen long-term services and supports for everyone.”

Research Shows Large Disparities in Direct Care Workforce

PHI is a national organization focused on strengthening the direct care workforce through research, advocacy, and workforce innovation. Their data shows that 87% of direct care workers are women and 61% are persons of color. 44% live in or near the poverty line and 27% of direct care workers are immigrants. These segments are crucial to providing care, but they face many disparities that can cause financial hardship. 

“It’s clear that in an already marginalized workforce, women, people of color, and immigrants generally fare worse than their counterparts, which means that we must focus significant support on these critical populations,” said vice president of policy at PHI, Robert Espinoza.

And these issues are not new. The disparities for the direct care workforce outlined in the latest research brief are rooted in systemic racial and gender inequities.

“To transform the entire direct care workforce, our country must confront its long and troubled history of systemic injustice that has impoverished various marginalized groups,” said Espinoza.

Through funding from the Woodcock Foundation, PHI was able to launch the Direct Care Worker Equity Institute. With those funds, PHI hopes to address the disparities direct care workers face so they can be rewarded for their hard work and continue providing care services. 

To learn more about the Direct Care Worker Equity Institute, click here.

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