Public Health AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps Main Logo

Key Dates:

  • Recruitment for Public Health AmeriCorps members: Spring 2022
  • First cohort of members begins: Summer 2022

An AmeriCorps member tends to plants in a raised bed in a community garden.

The Public Health AmeriCorps program is a groundbreaking initiative made possible through partnership between CDC and AmeriCorpsexternal icon and is funded by the American Rescue Plan Actexternal icon. The program supports efforts to build a strong and diverse workforce that is ready to respond to the nation’s public health needs.

Our Shared Vision

COVID-19 demonstrated the need for a more robust public health workforce that reflects the communities being served. Public Health AmeriCorpsexternal icon supports efforts to build a strong and diverse workforce that can swiftly respond to and address future public health challenges. This new program provides a pathway to recruit, train, and develop the next generation of public health leaders who will be ready to respond to the public health needs of the nation. Up to 5,000 Public Health AmeriCorps members will be recruited over the next five years to serve communities across the country and support their critical public health needs. The program has two main goals:

  • Address public health needs of local communities by providing local and state-level support and focusing on health equity for communities who are underserved.
  • Provide pathways to public health careers by offering onsite experience and training and recruit AmeriCorps members who reflect the communities in which they will serve.

Funding Opportunity: Who is Eligible?

A group of five AmeriCorps members discuss their work outdoors.

Organizations across the country (e.g., nonprofit, faith-based, and community-based organizations; higher-education institutions; state, local and territorial government entities, such as cities or counties; and Indian Tribes) interested in hosting one or more Public Health AmeriCorps members were eligible to apply for the 2022 Public Health AmeriCorps grantexternal icon. The grant application deadline was November 8, 2021, and a complete list of recipients is available on the Public Health AmeriCorpsexternal icon site.

The 85 new grantees come from more than 32 states and U.S. territories and included proposals for almost 3,000 members to serve across nearly all states. More than half of the members will be full-time positions and the remainder will be part-time. The service areas comprise both rural and urban locations.

Questions from organizations about the grant competition can be directed to AmeriCorpsGrants@cns.gov. The next opportunity to apply for the Public Health AmeriCorps Grant will be in the Fall of 2022.

AmeriCorps’ Role in Public Health

The experience and networks AmeriCorps brings to this partnership provide a valuable opportunity to engage communities around the United States, including many people who may have never considered a deeply fulfilling career in public health,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H. “This program is a critical component of CDC’s effort to develop a strong, diverse workforce to face the public health challenges of the future.

AmeriCorps has a long history of members serving in public health roles. The following examples illustrate the types of roles that AmeriCorps members can play in public health.

  • More than 100 AmeriCorps members have served as recovery coaches to help individuals overcome opioid addiction, providing drug abuse prevention and education, building the capacity of drug treatment and recovery organizations, supporting safe disposal of prescription drugs, improving opportunities for employment for those in recovery, providing substance abuse screening and assessments, and more.
    • In 2020, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) formally designated AmeriCorps as part of the National Drug Control Strategy and Budget, an important milestone and recognition of the value of or our work.
  • AmeriCorps has a 10+ year partnership with the Oregon Health Authority, where we place more than 20 AmeriCorps VISTA members each year. They serve at public health sites across the state, in roles related to health access, health and housing, substance use, health promotion, community engagement, emergency management, and more.
  • We also have programs like National Health Corps, which places AmeriCorps members in public health and clinical settings in multiple cities throughout the country to work on education, access, and capacity as they relate to health and related social services. Service position categories include Care Coordinator, Case Manager, COVID-19 Responder, Health Educator, Outreach Coordinator, and Patient Navigator.

Examples from the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • As the situation with COVID-19 evolves, we know there will be so much more to do, especially in communities hardest hit by the pandemic. In addition to our existing health-related programs pivoting and expanding their work – like so many did during the pandemic – we also created new programming to support communities, including Colorado’s COVID Containment Response Corps or CCRC, a statewide effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. AmeriCorps members have been working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to provide surge capacity to local public health agencies, including supporting case investigation, contact tracing, resource coordination, test result notification, isolation and quarantine monitoring, and more.
    • In May 2021 alone, AmeriCorps members and volunteers serving with the CCRC completed 45% of the total case investigations and 48% of the contact notifications.
    • Since the program began, AmeriCorps members have served 58,000 individuals and 84 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers have been hired as part of the Department of Health’s paid workforce combating COVID-19 at the end of their terms of service.
  • AmeriCorps members serving in FEMA Corps, traditional NCCC, and with Disaster Response Teams (A-DRTs) have been deployed to vaccination sites across the country during COVID, and continuously praised for their work and leadership by FEMA and community leaders. They have helped with site-set up, registration, volunteer engagement and management, directing traffic, parking, monitoring, education, and outreach. They were integral in operationalizing FEMA’s first mobile vaccination clinics, which were replicated across the country.
    • 49% of the recent graduating class was offered jobs with FEMA. More than 600 FEMA Corps members have gone on to work at FEMA since the program began and the rates have continued to increase over time.
  • To date, more than 36,000 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers have assisted 11.4+ million people with COVID-related efforts, including 2.5 million people at vaccination sites. They have provided 34.4 million meals and 145 million pounds of food to individuals and families in need. Members have conducted over 1.6 million wellness checks, served 3.4 million hours, and registered an additional 86,000 volunteers to serve.