$48 Million Announced to Increase the Public Health Workforce in Rural and Tribal Communities

US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, announced the availability of nearly $48 million in American Rescue Plan funding for community-based organizations to expand public health capacity in rural and tribal communities through health care job development, training, and placement. Awardees will be able to use this funding to address workforce needs related to the long-term effects of COVID-19 as well as health information technology (IT) needs and other key workforce issues.

This notice of funding opportunity builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s recent historic workforce announcement of awarding the largest field strength in history for its health workforce loan repayment and scholarship programs.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of a robust public health workforce to keep Americans safe and healthy, especially in communities that have experienced long-standing health disparities,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “This investment is part of our ongoing efforts to address health workforce needs in rural and underserved communities. As we build a healthier nation, we will continue to promote health equity and strengthen rural health.”

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The Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network Program addresses the critical need for more trained health professionals in rural communities. This investment will increase the number of well-trained health care professionals and connect them with future employers, including the hospitals and clinics that participate in this program. This approach benefits the workers who receive valuable training, as well as the participating health care providers who will be able to ensure the pool of potential employees is better prepared to provide culturally competent care that addresses specific needs at their sites. These rural communities will gain an expanded, highly trained workforce that will enhance quality of care and service delivery.

Awardees will establish community health networks, which may be composed of, but are not limited to, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Minority-Serving Institutions, community and technical colleges, critical access hospitals, community health centers, nursing homes, Rural Health Clinics, state or local workforce development boards, and substance abuse providers. HRSA anticipates more than 30 award recipients will be able to develop formal training and/or certification programs in order to increase capacity in the following workforce training tracks:

  • Community Health Support;
  • Health IT and/or Telehealth Technical Support;
  • Community Para-Medicine; and
  • Case Management Staff and/or Respiratory Therapists.
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“This funding will help advance HRSA’s mission of developing a health care workforce capable of meeting the critical needs of rural and other often underserved populations,” said Acting HRSA Administrator Diana Espinosa. “The Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network Program will create stronger links between training programs and the health care entities that ultimately employ their participants, a key strategy for increasing recruitment and retention in rural areas.”

Applicants can begin the application process on Grants.gov and apply by Friday, March 18, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Visit this Notice of Funding Opportunity for more information.

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