Using funding from the American Rescue Plan, the Biden administration is underwriting a bright future for the public health IT sector. The U.S. government has awarded cooperative agreements worth $73 million to ten higher education and minority-serving institutions. These organizations are tasked with fostering the talents of around 4,000 young individuals over four years to help produce the next generation of the healthcare IT workforce.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) formally introduced this initiative earlier in the year; it is categorized as a public health informatics and technology workforce development program. The U.S. has continually indicated its desire for stronger public health IT systems, particularly in the interest of avoiding potential COVID-19 data collection mismanagement. Equally important is the long-standing goal of increasing the sector's percentage of workers from underrepresented communities. Each of the ten awardees in the program are minority-serving or historically diverse institutions.
The ten universities locked in with the agreements include Norfolk State University in Virginia; the University of California, Irvine; the University of Massachusetts Lowell; Bowie State University in Maryland; Dominican College in Orangeburg, New York; the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; Regents of The University of Minnesota in Minneapolis; Jackson State University in Mississippi; California State University's Long Beach Research Foundation; and the University of the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C.