College of Health and Human Services Receives $2.6 Million Grant as Part of AmeriCorps and CDC Partnership

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Rebecca Sutter
Rebecca Sutter, Director of Mason and Partner Clinics

The grant is part of the first-of-its-kind Public Health AmeriCorps, which will meet public health needs of local communities and help rebuild the nation’s public health sector

The College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) has been awarded $2.6 million over three years as part of the new Public Health AmeriCorps program, an interagency agreement between AmeriCorps and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  

The College’s project is led by Rebecca Sutter, Director of the Mason and Partner (MAP) Clinics and recently-promoted professor of Nursing, and Janusz Wojtusiak, Director of the Center for Discovery Science and Health Informatics and associate professor of Health Administration and Policy. With the grant funding, the College aims to increase community-based connections and improve patient referrals to both health and social determinants of health needs through the use of data analytics and community-based relationships. 

“Mason is uniquely positioned to lead the way at this intersection between the CDC and AmeriCorps because of our expertise in health informatics, dedication to health equity, and long-standing relationships in our local communities,” said Sutter. “These AmeriCorps volunteers will be our next public health leaders, and we are excited to prepare them to use data to guide public health strategy and create stronger connections to underserved Northern Virginia families.”  

Janusz Wojtusiak
Janusz Wojtusiak, Director of the Center for Discovery Science and Health Informatics

The project, "Mason Data and Technology Driven Public Health AmeriCorps Training Program," will receive $2,662,000 over three years.   

Under the grant, Mason will train 30 AmeriCorps members to strengthen health connections to the community and learn how to use data analytics to improve care communication, care coordination, triage, and patient surveillance across two communities in Northern Virginia. AmeriCorps members will increase referrals to health and social services for under/uninsured community members. 

This community-based training program is critical to building the public health workforce and serving underserved communities that are strained for support. With dedicated training, future leaders can become confident and comfortable with the variety of ways to support people in their health and wellness journeys. The training program also will help address broader public health needs that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, including mental health. 

“Public Health AmeriCorps is a first of its kind response to the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and social determinants of health. These new AmeriCorps members will add capacity to strained public health systems and build a career pathway for future public health leaders from underserved communities,” said Michael D. Smith, AmeriCorps CEO. 

Public Health AmeriCorps will include a 400-million-dollar investment, over five years, to many organizations, including CHHS, from the American Rescue Plan Act workforce funding that will enable the recruitment, training, and development of a new generation of public health leaders who are ready to respond to the public health needs of the nation by providing public health service in communities.