258: Public Health AmeriCorps Explained

AJ Pearlman, Director of Public Health AmeriCorps, shares the organization’s plan to get more people into public health positions across the nation; ASTHO explains legal considerations for agencies working to vaccinate people against Monkeypox;...

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AJ Pearlman, Director of Public Health AmeriCorps, shares the organization’s plan to get more people into public health positions across the nation; ASTHO explains legal considerations for agencies working to vaccinate people against Monkeypox; Shelby Rowell, ASTHO’s Senior Analyst for Clinical to Community Connections, explains a project to help states and territories leverage funding to address food insecurity; and ASTHO encourages you to sign up for its Public Health Weekly newsletter emails.

Public Health AmeriCorps

ASTHO Blog Article: Legal Considerations for Scaling Monkeypox Vaccination Efforts

ASTHO Blog Article: Using Your Braiding and Layering Funding to Address Food Insecurity

ASTHO White Papers: Braiding and Layering Funding to Address Housing and Food Insecurity

ASTHO Public Health Weekly Newsletter

ASTHO logo



This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Thursday, September 8th, 2022. I'm Robert Johnson.

Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.



We at AmeriCorps have partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create Public Health AmeriCorps, which is a program that is working to recruit and build a new workforce. That's ready to respond to the nation's most urgent public health needs.


AJ Pearlman, director of Public Health AmeriCorps, sharing the plan to get more people into public health positions across the us.


We are working with programs that we have funded to both recruit AmeriCorps members for this first year of Public Health AmeriCorps programs. In addition, we are doing outreach to organizations, including public health departments, for a second year of funding that we currently have open. And we're looking for new organizations and agencies to join us in our Public Health AmeriCorps effort through that additional round of funding.


Pearlman says Public Health AmeriCorps has $400 million from the CDC's American Rescue Plan funding to meet its goals.


So, we are focused on serving and supporting underserved communities. But one of our aims with this program is to be flexible enough to meet the public health needs of each individual community. And we're supporting programs differently depending on their focus areas and their needs, whether that's improving access to care and helping individuals navigate the healthcare system, maybe responding to a community's behavioral health challenges related to mental health or substance use disorder, or even addressing emerging public health issues such as monkeypox.


Pearlman wants public health leaders to help build interest among those looking to have an impact.


We're asking public health leaders to encourage and share AmeriCorps member opportunities for those who are interested in entering the public health workforce, or frankly just learning more about public health through an on-site experience in a local public health setting. Specifically, we're aiming to recruit diverse members who represent the communities where they serve and are also looking to help diversify the future public health workforce.


There's a link to the Public Health AmeriCorps website in the show notes.


As public health agencies work to vaccinate people against monkeypox, they also need to be aware of certain legal considerations. O'Keyla Cooper has more.


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is working closely with public health officials to expand the availability of the monkeypox vaccine to high risk communities across the country. However, there have been barriers restricting some state and local pharmacist from administering approved vaccinations, read about the legal considerations in ASTHO's latest blog located in the show notes.



Also this morning, ASTHO is thinking about ways to make the most of funding for programs that address food insecurity.

Shelby Rowell says white papers digging into the details of braiding and layering funding approaches are available now.


So, this work was done in reaction to a lot of the challenges states were facing in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic with school shutdowns and widespread job layoffs kids, seniors, low income families, rural communities and minority populations were experiencing increased food insecurity.


Rowell says the ASTHO team worked with the Georgetown Law O'Neill Institute of National and Global Health on the project.


When addressing food insecurity, the public health role can be concentrated into two different areas: oversight and influence. Each state's authority is going to look very different, and the programs that they oversee are going to be different. Some states may be able to make a direct change to a program, their oversight authority, while others may need to work with their sister agencies or private partners to influence policy.


Learn more about ways to leverage Medicaid, SNAP, and WIC funding using the links in the show notes.


Finally today, don't forget to sign up for ASTHO Public Health Weekly newsletter. That's where you can find out about everything happening at ASTHO and in Congress. There's a link to sign up in the show notes.


That'll do it for today's newscast. We're back tomorrow morning with more ASTHO news and information.

I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a great day.

Shelby Rowell MPA

Senior Analyst, Population Health and Innovation, ASTHO

AJ Pearlman JD

Director, Public Health AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps