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Health Department Awarded Grant to Boost Community Health Workforce


PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department has received a three-year $7.5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to enhance the public health workforce and directly address COVID-19 and related public health disparities in Allegheny County.

“This funding is essential to address the ongoing challenge posed by COVID-19, and it will help eliminate the health disparities that persist in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County,” said Doyle. “Strengthening our public health workforce and connecting the community to public health solutions are the kinds of programs and outcomes Congress intended for the COVID-19 response.”

The grant will help centralize, support and align existing Community Health Worker (CHW) programs at the Health Department with local community-based organizations and healthcare-based organizations. In addition, the grant will help to create a unified approach to COVID-19 training; ensure that CHWs have access to continuing education opportunities, are able to address community-surfaced needs, and are able to adapt quickly to changing COVID-19 conditions and respond with direct services and community education; and create a central infrastructure of CHWs, CBOs, and healthcare services that is at the ready to address community health needs beyond COVID-19 through a trusted, culturally competent public health workforce.

“One of the challenges that the pandemic made clear was the need for additional community and public health workers,” said Fitzgerald. “And while this funding will certainly help us respond to COVID, it’s much broader than that, allowing us to address health disparities across a broad spectrum of health issues facing our community. We are grateful to Congressman Doyle for his ongoing support of our community’s needs, and to the Health Department for leading such a large, impactful effort that will benefit our region for years to come.”

The Health Department requested $7,489,345.58 over the three years, with approximately $5.3 million to go directly to community partners to hire and fund community healthcare workers. In year one, the Health Department will receive $2,650,987; of that total, $1.6 million is earmarked for community health worker organizations, $330,000 for a Health Department study to evaluate the programs, $150,000 for communications and $284,000 for training and curriculum development. The funding is made possible by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.

“This program is needed to further address health and healthcare disparities and inequity in Allegheny County,” Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen said. “We know that there is an increased burden of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among traditionally underserved populations including Black, Hispanic, Asian, immigrant and refugees, justice involved, and people experiencing homelessness and mental health issues, including substance use. We will bring community health workers and clinical care providers that currently serve these populations together for ongoing COVID-19 training and deployment.”

The Health department will work a number of community-based organizations on this program, including AHN Center for Inclusion Health, Front Door Initiative at Jefferson Hospital, Cornerstone Care Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), Duquesne University Center for Integrative Health, East Liberty Family Health Center, Healthcare Council of Western PA, Latino Community Center, Neighborhood Resilience Project, North Side Christian Health Center, Pittsburgh Mercy, Primary Care Health Services, Project Destiny, Squirrel Hill Health Center, Sto-Rox Family Health Center, Southwest PA Area Health Education Center (AHEC), University of Pittsburgh, Birmingham Free Clinic, UPMC St. Margaret, and Women for a Healthy Environment.

For more information on Community Health Workers for COVID Response and Resilient Communities program, go here.



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