Earlier this year, the White House announced its plan to invest $7 billion from the American Rescue Plan to hire and train public health workers in response to COVID-19.
The need for a more robust public health workforce became apparent at the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic in early 2020. The billion-dollar investment will create thousands of jobs to respond to COVID-19, prepare the nation for future outbreaks, and support local public health officials.
With a larger workforce comes more substantial support for vaccinations, testing, contact tracing, and community outreach, all of which will strengthen America’s future public health infrastructure. Among these public health roles will be Disease Intervention Specialists to do contact tracing, case management, and support outbreak investigations. School nurses are also important for helping schools safely reopen and remain open for in-person instruction.
The investment plans also include development opportunities for the future generation of public health leaders through the Public Health AmeriCorps and CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service – the renowned program that equips workers to identify and contain public health outbreaks.
Looking toward the future, the CDC will use $3 billion from the American Rescue Plan for a new grant program that facilitates federal investment in the people and expertise needed at the state and local levels to expand, train, and modernize the public health workforce.
This program expansion helps support workforce diversity in public health and helps reduce health disparities and inequities, as well as support public health infrastructure in lower-income and underserved communities.
Read the full White House Fact Sheet to learn more.
In a scholarly article published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, IUPUI researchers outline how the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated holes in public health systems across the United States. They call for the modernization of local and state public health systems, as well as the national system, and provide their recommendations.