Supporting a Diverse Workforce

For our public health workforce to be effective and responsive, it must reflect the communities we serve. CDC’s CORE Health Equity Science and Intervention Strategy challenges CDC to make health equity a foundational goal and to incorporate efforts to address health disparities across our work—from research to programs, and from partnerships to workforce.

Diversifying the workforce starts early—long before students enroll in college. DSEPD makes diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility an integral part of CDC fellowship and training programs at all levels of education and career progression. Here are some of our key efforts.

Reaching Students Early

  • Through the CDC Science Ambassador Fellowship, DSEPD invests in reaching all corners of the country to inspire the nation’s future public health scientists by introducing middle and high school teachers and their students to applied epidemiology and public health
  • The fellowship provides professional development to teachers and helps them create core resources and competency-based curricula for their colleagues around the world to use
  • Science Ambassadors support science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education to improve science and health literacy and ignite student interest in public health careers. For example, the program developed the CDC NERD Academy, an innovative standards-based STEM curriculum to teach basic concepts in public health and epidemiology. The curriculum features a fictional novel, emerging, respiratory disease—or NERD, for short.

Recruiting and Supporting Fellows

  • In 2022, we held the first agency-wide CDC fellowship career fair with all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). This event will continue biannually in the spring and fall.
  • We offer similar events with Hispanic Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions.
  • DSEPD’s team of diverse fellowship ambassadors connect with prequalified candidates from similar cultural backgrounds, ethnicities or nationalities, and disciplines. Ambassadors mentor candidates through the application process and advise them from relatable experience.
  • Through partnerships, we promote our programs and reach diverse candidates. Partners include the White House Initiative on HBCUs, and the CDC John R. Lewis Undergraduate Public Health Scholars (formerly CUPS) Program with CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity.
  • With short-term funding from the COVID-19 pandemic, we expanded the Educational Loan Repayment Program for Health Professionals to two new cohorts for several of our fellowship programs.

Encouraging Future Career Paths

  • We are identifying evidence-based methods to teach the current and future workforce how to apply health equity, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility to public health. We will incorporate these methods across all DSEPD fellowship programs.
  • The groundbreaking Public Health AmeriCorps program is recruiting thousands of new members to advance equitable health outcomes in communities that are currently or historically underserved.
    • Members provide critical capacity to state, local, and Tribal public health settings to meet the public health needs of local communities.
    • They also gain experience and training that prepares them to be the next generation of public health leaders.