Government allocates $7.4 billion to strengthen public health

May 14, 2021

The federal government will invest $7.4 billion from the American Rescue Plan to recruit and hire public health workers — including public laboratory employees — to respond to the pandemic and prepare for future public health challenges, according to a news release from the White House.

Of the $7.4 billion, the government will spend a total of $4.4 billion to allow states and localities to hire additional staff members at public health departments to support COVID-19 response efforts. The funding will pay for specialists to do contact tracing, case management, and support outbreak investigations, as well as school nurses to help schools reopen. The funds also help create a Public Health AmeriCorps and expanding Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Epidemic Intelligence service, which equips workers to identify and contain public health outbreaks.

The money also will allow the CDC to spend $337 million to strengthen the pipeline for public health laboratory talent. To do this, the CDC will expand public health laboratory fellowship programs for laboratory science graduates and implement a new public health laboratory internship program for undergraduate students.

The money also will improve the capacity of the nation’s public-private clinical laboratory infrastructure to support rapid, large-scale responses to public health emergencies.

Finally, CDC will use $3 billion from the American Rescue Plan to create a new grant program to expand, train, and modernize the public health workforce at the state and local level. In the months ahead, CDC plans to work with leaders from across the public health community to design this new grant program.

Visit the White House for more news.

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