Building Capacity and a Strong Public Health Workforce

In the spring of 2020, public health departments nationwide were stressed under the strain of a rapidly evolving and deadly crisis. With support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the private sector, the CDC Foundation began recruiting, hiring and onboarding what would ultimately become more than 4,200 people to assist understaffed and overwhelmed jurisdictions in all 50 states, five big cities, 11 tribal nations and five U.S. territories.


COVID-19 Corps

More than 1,100 field employees were placed at various health departments and assigned to help with a number of critical programs within challenged jurisdictions. For example, these team members quickly contributed to contact tracing efforts; staffed call centers; resolved backlogs of testing and lab results; input necessary data; provided epidemiological and laboratory support for congregate care and infection control; built and maintained data dashboards and other processes; bolstered communications efforts; and even organized a repatriation effort for American Samoans who became trapped abroad due to COVID travel restrictions.


Workforce/Vaccine Initiative

In June of 2021, with cases of coronavirus surging and vaccine distribution being scaled up, the CDC Foundation was tasked with hiring an additional approximately 3,000 public health workers to continue to bridge gaps in state, tribal, local and territorial workforces across the country until other funding sources could be utilized, as well as to build a diverse pool of public health professionals for the future. The effort was expanded to include COVID-19 assistance for schools, health equity, the establishment of sovereign tribal health departments and help with increasing vaccine acceptance and distribution.