About San Francisco Welcome Back Center

The lead center of the Welcome Back Initiative is the San Francisco Welcome Back Center, launched in 2001 as a program of Community Health Works, a partnership between City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University. Funded through a grant from The California Endowment, the center serves participants from more than ten counties in the state. Other centers in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Imperial Valley soon followed. Within the following few years, the impact of the initiative went beyond California’s borders when Welcome Back Centers were created in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Washington State, Maryland, Texas, New York and Colorado, with plans for centers in other cities well underway.

In the needs assessment phase carried out by the San Francisco Welcome Back Center, these foreign-trained health professionals consistently identified four barriers to their integration into the health workforce in the U.S.: limited English language proficiency, limited financial resources and time, a lack of familiarity with the U.S. health care system, and limited credit given by educational institutions for their foreign education. The systems and services established by the Welcome Back Initiative and first implemented by the San Francisco Welcome Back Center were directly based on helping these health professionals overcome these barriers and achieve their career goals.

The San Francisco Welcome Back Center has developed a program model that incorporates individual case management, career counseling services, curricula development, resource coordination, and group interventions. The expected outcome is to identify viable career pathways that will enable immigrant health professionals to return to providing health services to communities in need.

Mission Statement of the
San Francisco Welcome Back Center:

"To build a bridge between the pool of internationally trained health
workers living in the United States and the need for linguistically and culturally competent health services in underserved communities."