A combined supplement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last week spread $200 million among 59 jurisdiction public health programs to expand the disease intervention specialists (DIS) workforce.
This funding is but a fraction of the investments planned over the next five years, though, which will see $1.13 billion invested as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Using these funds, health departments will increase capacity to conduct contact tracing and disease case investigation, link prevention and treatment, manage cases, and pursue proper outbreak response for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
“Disease intervention specialists have helped halt infectious disease outbreaks in America for decades, and this funding builds upon that expertise for a stronger, healthier America,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said. “This critical investment to recruit and train the experts needed to end this pandemic and prevent the next one is part of our larger effort to rebuild public health infrastructure in the United States to ensure it can protect the health of all Americans for generations to come.”
COVID-19 is naturally a major focus of these efforts, as it is a clear and present danger to the American public. However, the CDC will also use these funds to increase DIS training opportunities and innovate how partner services are delivered.