Caregivers build community-focused careers at University of Providence

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Santa Monica news

Community Health Investment Certificate brings fresh focus for Providence manager

As a busy operations integration manager with Providence in Portland, Ore., Katie Robb, MSM, doesn’t have a lot of free time. But when she heard about the new Community Health Investment Certificate Program at the University of Providence, she made time to apply to her alma mater. “I wanted to learn more about how Providence is improving health in our communities by making an impact on the social determinants of health*,” she says. “We’re already doing some of that work here at Providence Cancer Institute, and this is an opportunity for me to learn how we may be able to do it better, going forward.”

Robb is in the first cohort of students in this first-of-its-kind program. Just a few weeks into her virtual classes, she says, “I’m learning a lot, and it’s putting a nice, fresh focus for me on our mission. That’s been really empowering.”

Katie Robb appreciates learning from leaders who've curated a real-world curriculum

A partnership with the Catholic Health Association

Providence launched the master’s-level program in partnership with the Catholic Health Association to explore health equity and the social drivers of health.

It’s the hope of CHA president Sister Mary Haddad, RSM, that the new program “will create a cadre of caregivers passionate about preventing illness through systemic change.”

For Robb, the passion is already there. The program is providing the knowledge – “from leaders in the field who’ve curated a thoughtful, real-world curriculum” – to put her passion into action. “This is how we bring our mission into the community to make sure we’re giving back,” she says, “and that when we do, we’re reaching the people who need it most.”

Providence coordinator starts Health Justice Certificate Program

In Santa Monica, Calif., Providence caregiver Isabella Acosta recently started online classes in another new UP graduate-level offering. The Health Justice Certificate Program explores legal remedies and policy changes for improving health among the most vulnerable. Acosta, who earned a master’s degree in health care administration through UP last year, looks forward to expanding her policy background through the program.

Isabella Acosta sees her certificate as a tool to help close the gap on health disparities

“The disparities in health care related to immigration status, poverty, homelessness and other social drivers are ongoing,” she says. “Public policies need to change in order to close the gaps and make health care more accessible for everyone.” Currently an administrative coordinator, Acosta hopes to move into the policy side to be part of the solutions she sees ahead.

By making these investments in education for its caregivers, Robb believes, “Providence is demonstrating its commitment to a vision of Health For a Better World, not just now, but also into the future.”

Learn more or apply:

The University of Providence, located in Great Falls, Mont., offers undergraduate and graduate-level programs in a wide variety of health care fields. While it is open to all, the university offers special tuition pricing for specific health programs to benefits-eligible Providence caregivers and their dependents. Get more details and apply.


*Social determinants of health include factors like socioeconomic status, education, neighborhood and physical environment, employment, and social support networks, as well as access to medical care. Addressing social needs is important for improving health and reducing longstanding disparities in health and health care


Health for a Better World story, about serving with our local partners to address the foundations of health.

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About the Author

Community Partnerships is a division that aligns the influence of Providence to create stronger communities, raise awareness, and illuminate a pathway that inspires all to serve. Through partnerships, we work to improve the health of our nation and achieve our goal of Health for a Better World.

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