The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $73 million in cooperative agreements to 10 awardees as a part of its Public Health Informatics & Technology Workforce Development Program (PHIT Workforce Program).

The program seeks to strengthen public health IT efforts, improve COVID-19 data collection, and increase representation of underrepresented communities in the public health IT workforce.

The funding for the program comes through HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. The awardees are comprised of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions, other minority-serving institutions, and other institutions of higher education.

Cyber Central: Defenders Unite

Explore increasingly hot button cyber issues that are top-of-mind. Learn more.

The awardees 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.”

“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,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “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 PHIT Workforce Program was announced earlier this year and is funded through the American Rescue Plan. In addition to training, the program will develop curricula, recruit 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.

The awardees include:

  • Bowie State University in Bowie, Md.;
  • California State University, Long Beach Research Foundation in Long Beach, Calif.;
  • Dominican College of Blauvelt, Inc. in Orangeburg, N.Y.;
  • Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss.;
  • Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Va.;
  • Regents of The University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn.;
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston;
  • University of Massachusetts at Lowell;
  • University of California, Irvine; and
  • The University of the District of Columbia.

“We’re excited to hit the ground running to develop a continuous pipeline of diverse public health information technology professionals,” Micky Tripathi, Ph.D., national coordinator for health information technology, said. “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.”

Read More About
More Topics
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.