Health and Wellness Informatics News

A new $80M workforce development program launched by ONC

The National Coordinator for Health IT initiates to launch a new Public Health Informatics & Technology Workforce Development Program.

It was in this week when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced their upcoming program. The National Coordinator for Health IT office will focus on bringing up a new workforce development program for public health informatics and technology. 

Around $80 million funds were gathered from the American Rescue Plan for the PHIT workforce program. This program aims to boss public health in data science, medical informatics, and new training.   

The agency invites a list of universities and colleges that includes Tribal Colleges and Universities, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions, and several other schools. Also, they are mainly targeting schools that serve minority populations in accordance to apply for the funding. As Xavier Becerra, the HHS Secretary, says, this funding will help to train and build new opportunities for several minorities.

The underserved communities and minorities had to face several difficulties during the pandemic. But the agency also notes how the COVID-19 crisis incorporated gaps in public health reporting and then data analysis. As per the HHS officials, these gaps can attribute to limited chronic underfunding of the staff and technological infrastructure to support public health data reporting.

The workforce development program motives to be able to train over 4,000 individuals in public health informatics and technology. A consortium will help build the recruit and train participants, curriculum, and secured paid internship chances. After that, it even tries to navigate the trainees towards better career placement at public health-focused non-profits or other public health agencies.

Under the program, ONC commits to award up to $75 million to the cooperative agreement beneficiaries. The other remaining $5 million will help to support the overall administration of the program. 

Micky Tripathi, the National Coordinator for Health It, says, “This new funding will help to address that need by supporting the efforts of minority-serving institutions and other colleges and universities across the nation to educate and launch individuals into public health careers.”