The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), today announced the availability of $226.5 million in American Rescue Plan funding to launch the Community Health Worker Training Program. This new program will increase the number of community health workers who play a critical role in connecting people to care, including COVID care; mental health and substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery services; chronic disease care; and other important health services.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to building a robust public health workforce — the first line of defense in preventing disease, safeguarding health and keeping the public safe,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “This funding will support these health workers—who know their communities and have their trust— as they keep their neighbors healthy, including throughout the COVID-19 response, by helping patients enroll in vital services, and by providing community education, outreach and support.”
The Community Health Worker Training Program is a new multiyear program focused on education and on-the-job training to build the pipeline of public health workers. This effort will support training and apprenticeship programs to help more people enter the health workforce and serve the critical role of trusted messengers to connect people to care and support, help ensure patients follow-up on their provider’s recommendations and focus on preventive and protective factors that can improve health and well-being.
“At a time when too much misinformation is clouding the health care landscape, we are investing in training community health workers who are trusted voices in their communities,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “This new program will grow and train this essential part of our health care workforce and connect them to the communities and employers who need them most.”
This program builds on the historic investments the Administration has made through the American Rescue Plan, and supports community health workers, who have engaged in critical COVID-19 vaccine outreach and building vaccine confidence in our hardest-hit and highest-risk communities throughout the pandemic. Many of these individuals have been hired from the communities they serve, resulting in a diverse corps of people typically underrepresented in our health workforce.
Community health workers are also known as promotores de salud, community health advisors, outreach workers, patient navigators, and peer counselors and can include individuals with lived experience whose experience helps inform their work.
Through this program, HRSA plans to train 13,000 community health workers, increasing access to care, improving public health emergency response, and addressing the public health needs of underserved communities.
To learn about eligibility and to apply for the Community Health Worker Training Program, visit Grants.gov. Applications are due June 14, 2022.