Sep 30, 2022 - Politics & Policy

U.S. government awards $266 million to build public health workforce

Microbiologists process Covid-19 and monkeypox tests at its facility in Nashville, Tennessee, on Aug. 4, 2022. Photo: Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The federal government awarded more than $266 million in American Rescue Plan funding to grow the nation's community and public health workforce, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday.

Driving the news: The department is investing $225.5 million in community health workers and $40.7 million in public health scholarships.

Details: The $225.5 million will go to 83 grantees as part of the Community Health Worker Training Program, which will support training and apprenticeship for some 13,000 new community health workers.

  • The $40.7 million will go 29 grantees through the Public Health Scholarship Program to incentivize people to pursue training and careers in public health, including as epidemiologists and other positions critical to community public health needs, the department said.

What they're saying: "These investments will equip community and public health workers with the skill sets needed to provide effective community outreach, increase access to care, and assist individuals with critical prevention and treatment services," Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

The big picture: The funding comes after the nation entered the COVID-19 pandemic with major health care worker shortages and a workforce that was strained to its limits in the emergency response to the coronavirus.

  • The pandemic drove record levels of burnout and many left their roles in health care, Axios' Tina Reed reports.

Go deeper: Public health and pickleball: How cities are spending COVID money

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