The COVID-19 pandemic showed that government agencies and communities must work together to respond to public health emergencies. From vaccination rollouts to health education, response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other health crises like heart diseases and intimate partner violence, the need for inter-government and community collaboration is vital to our nation’s health. As we adapt and prepare for future crises, AmeriCorps is calling for organizations to put national service to work as an effective public health strategy.
In 2021, AmeriCorps and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established Public Health AmeriCorps as a historic partnership connecting the individual benefits of national service to the urgent needs of America’s public health sector.
For decades, AmeriCorps has successfully worked with local and national partners to address the nation’s most pressing challenges. Whether it’s addressing the opioid crisis or food security, healthy futures are a core focus for national service and volunteerism.
National service isn’t just about placing people where the need is greatest; it’s about putting AmeriCorps members where the impact is greatest and backed by research—an area AmeriCorps continues to be recognized for its achievements. In November 2022, Results for America recognized AmeriCorps as a leader in evidence-based federal grants. Returns on investment in areas such as disaster response, college prep, and conservation, which total as high as $90 returned for every $1 federal dollar invested, illustrate the win-win that national service affords everyone.
How will Public Health AmeriCorps make a difference?
- Meet the public health needs of local communities by providing capacity and support in local public health settings and advancing more equitable health outcomes for historically underserved communities.
- For example: Public Health AmeriCorps grantees like L.A. Works, an organization that creates and leads programming to address critical issues in Los Angeles through volunteerism, and Health360, an organization that focuses on equitable health education, place AmeriCorps members in the most vulnerable communities to provide social services, mental health services, and more.
- Provide pathways to quality public health-related careers by offering onsite experience, training, and more, with a focus on recruiting AmeriCorps members who reflect the communities in which they will serve.
- For example: CDC will provide public health training to all members and many grantee organizations will offer hands-on training experiences.
Public Health AmeriCorps awarded more than $60 million to 82 health-focused organizations this year. Across the country, Public Health AmeriCorps members began their one year of service to support COVID-19 recovery, increase community resilience, and prepare for the next public health crisis.
Organization seeking capacity to address a public health challenge should apply for a Public Health AmeriCorps grant. The FY23 funding application is open until Wednesday, January 4, 2023, and funding will be awarded in Spring 2023.
National service is a flexible, scalable, proven resource that can play a more significant role in America’s public health environment. Since its inception, AmeriCorps has tapped the ingenuity and can-do spirit of the American people to meet our toughest challenges. Public Health AmeriCorps is that next chapter.