Mission, Vision & Values


  • To help immigrants and refugees who have some healthcare education and experience be fully employed
  • To improve healthcare in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties by making the workforce more diverse


At DHTI, we envision,

  • A healthcare system that reflects the cultural diversity of its patient population and is more effective because of that.
  • A healthcare system where more immigrants who are fully employed in health care professions.


DHTI has a commitment to:

  • helping immigrants and refugees navigate complex paths to achieve their healthcare career goals;
  • partnerships with high quality educators and healthcare providers;
  • careful use of foundation, corporate, and government resources that support our work.

History & Key Accomplishments

  • Only program of this kind serving Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
  • 142 participants during our first year
  • 54% internationally trained healthcare professionals
  • 85% women
  • 63% Asian, 11% Latino, 11% African, 8% South Asian, 4% Middle Eastern, 2% European representing 28 countries
  • 22 job placements, 18 within the health sector


  • Successful pilot program 2010-2011 supported by the Bay Area Workforce Funding Collaborative and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 
  • Pilot program results engaged a founding board of directors with many leaders in healthcare and public policy
  • DHTI established in 2012 by former Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker
  • Early financial support from regional foundations and corporations:   
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • The San Francisco Foundation
  • The California Wellness Foundation
  • Y & H Soda Foundation
  • California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development  (OSHPD)

Need for Healthcare Workers

  • Alameda and Contra Costa Counties (the East Bay) = 44% of the Bay Area population
  • East Bay is a unique, very diverse area
    • Network of community and state colleges and universities with healthcare education programs
    • Home to leading healthcare providers like Kaiser Permanente, who pioneered key strategies of healthcare reform
  • Affordable Care Act is increasing demand on healthcare services and focusing on outcomes; diversity is seen by many as a contributor to positive outcomes.

DHTI's Theory of Change

  1. Bay Area healthcare providers serve an increasingly diverse population with a resulting need for a diverse workforce.
  2. Only the most resourceful people are immigrants and refugees in the U.S., but those who come with successful health care education and work experience in their home countries, still face many serious barriers to full employment in the U.S.
  3. Allied health careers offer immigrants great potential for employment, self-sufficiency, and professional growth. 
  4. DHTI’s programs that help immigrants and refugees bridge these employment gaps result in a dual benefit: for the immigrant and for the health care employer.
  • Educators and employers have told DHTI that most immigrant students and employees need supplemental training and education to be successful. Many do not complete education plans, others do well on technical parts of work or learning but struggle on the job.
  • Immigrants and refugees must have more than basic English language skills. DHTI services include:
    • Soft skills, such as, an understanding of the health care work place, patient relations and communications
    • Computer skills that are needed starting with the job application and continuing through to maintenance of patient records. 
    • Exposure to the work environment with discussion of allied health career pathway options.
    • Counseling about career paths and options, education and licensing requirements

The DHTI strategy broadens the Welcome Back model of career and educational counseling, because the complex and changing systems of accountability and reimbursement in the U.S. means that work incentives are distinctly different from cash and carry systems elsewhere in the world.

Our desired results are:

  1. pipelines to healthcare institutions and employers are established
  2. participants are successful in navigating and thriving within healthcare education and training programs
  3. education and employment success for the immigrant, educator and employer.

Strategic Considerations

Launch program components that address the problems from three perspectives:

  1. immigrants’ need for soft skills and selection of a promising career in the allied healthcare field;
  2. educators needs to support students through full completion of an education plan; and
  3. employers’ needs where enhanced recruitment services or employee remediation are needed

Because the DHTI program scale is still very modest, strive for some diversity among participants to demonstrate credibility of the program model

Maximize involvement of partners:

Alameda Healthcare Services
Asian Health Services
Asian Network
Berkeley Health Center
East Bay Health Center
Family Bridges
Kaiser Permanente
Merritt College

Who We Serve 


Maria may have college degrees and many years of experience as a pediatrician in her home country but she will face barriers in trying to find comparable work in the U.S.

_The lack of minority health professionals is compounding the nation’s persistent racial and ethnic health disparities. Health profession schools should work to increase the number of multi-lingual students._.png
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