The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today awarded $73 million in cooperative agreements as part of its Public Health Informatics & Technology Workforce Development Program (PHIT Workforce Program). Announced earlier this year and funded through the American Rescue Plan, the program aims to strengthen U.S. public health information technology (IT) efforts, improve COVID-19 data collection, and increase representation of underrepresented communities within the public health IT workforce. ONC will support the overall administration of the program.
“While we work to tackle the pandemic, we won’t take our foot off the gas when it comes to preparing for any future public health challenges,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we can invest in growing our nation’s public health workforce today to better meet the needs of tomorrow. And as we work to expand talent, whether it’s in the field of technology or public health informatics, we will do so with an eye towards promoting diversity.”
The 10 awardees, comprising Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), other minority-serving institutions (MSIs), and other institutions of higher education, will form multiple consortia to collectively train more than 4,000 individuals over a four-year period through an interdisciplinary approach in public health informatics and technology.
The consortia will develop curricula, recruit and train participants, secure paid internship opportunities, and assist in career placement at public health agencies, public health-focused non-profits or other public health-focused organizations. This program supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to hire public health workers from the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities, as well as ensure a steady stream of diverse talent across the U.S. public health system to equip our nation for future public health emergencies.
“We’re excited to hit the ground running to develop a continuous pipeline of diverse public health information technology professionals,” said Micky Tripathi, Ph.D., national coordinator for health information technology. “It’s critical that we quickly identify and educate individuals from diverse backgrounds in public health, informatics and data science to cultivate a robust, sustainable public health workforce.”
PHIT Workforce Program Awardees:
- Bowie State University, Bowie, MD
- California State University, Long Beach Research Foundation, Long Beach, CA
- Dominican College of Blauvelt, Inc., Orangeburg, NY
- Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
- Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA
- Regents of The University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
- The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX
- University of Massachusetts at Lowell, Lowell, MA
- University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA
- University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC