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Creating a Diverse Health Workforce During COVID-19

Program

Tracing Health

Highlights

a man in a mask writing on a board at the front of a room

PHI is not just hiring contact tracers—we are creating a healthcare workforce pipeline that will provide careers and a stronger economy even after the pandemic has ended. A more diverse healthcare workforce helps interrupt systemic racism in healthcare delivery and creates better care and outcomes for communities of color.

75% of contact tracers are bi- or multi-lingual

60% come directly from the communities they serve

5400 hours of training provided to staff to prepare them for healthcare careers

COVID-19 costs lives, and it has also crippled economies and put people out of work across the country. That’s why in 2020 PHI was not just hiring contact tracers—we worked to create a healthcare workforce pipeline that will provide careers and a stronger economy even after the pandemic ended. PHI’s contact tracing workforce is 75% bi- or multi-lingual, and 60% are from the communities they serve. A more diverse healthcare workforce helps interrupt systemic racism in healthcare delivery and creates better care and outcomes for communities of color.

Leo is a contact tracer with PHI’s Tracing Health program. He has an undergraduate degree in public health, but never found a job in the field. When the pandemic hit, he lost his job as the supervisor at a dining facility. Today, as a bilingual contact tracer, he is reaching out to people from his community who urgently need support. And, he’s received hours of free public health training and real-world experience that will advance him in his career.

The Tracing Health training includes opportunities for staff to further their professional development through our outside partners. When the University of Delaware offered our team an Advanced Telehealth Coordinator Certificate Program through Futuro Health, one Tracing Health staff member had a problem: she could not afford the registration fee. Even after her supervisor told her that PHI would reimburse her, she regretfully replied that she could not take the class. “I can’t be reimbursed,” she said, “Because I don’t have the $100 to put down in the first place.”

PHI made sure that this staff member and all of our staff who qualified for the program were able to enroll and complete their certification. From April through November 2020, PHI provided more than 5400 hours of training to our contact tracing staff—including staff who have not yet completed their high school degrees—to start them on their paths as public health leaders. 

Contact tracer John Franco joined the Governor of California to talk about how he is building a healthcare career while helping his community.

By advancing healthcare workers who truly reflect the communities they serve, PHI is building community power and health, where the need is greatest.

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