Press Release

After Securing $3 Billion In Funding To Establish A National Public Health Workforce, Gillibrand Announces Push For $55 Billion In Biden’s Budget Proposal To Establish A Health Force In Every Community

Feb 2, 2022

Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is calling for $55 billion to be included in President Biden’s budget request to establish and replicate a Health Force in every community. In early 2021, Senator Gillibrand introduced the Health Force, Resilience Force, and Jobs to Fight COVID-19 Act, a public health jobs program to help the nation recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and successfully negotiated its inclusion in the American Rescue Plan. The American Rescue Plan included $3 billion for a new public health workforce based on Gillibrand’s Health Force legislation to expand the nation’s public health jobs and infrastructure and aid the country’s vaccine distribution campaign. Senator Gillibrand is now encouraging local governments across New York State to form similar health corps that would benefit from this federal funding and strengthen community health by empowering a knowledgeable workforce that has the trust of local residents, as workers are often from the same neighborhood they serve. 

“Over the past two years, our health care system and our health care providers have been under historic levels of stress and are in desperate need of reinforcement. That’s why I fought hard to pass measures from my Health Force, Resilience Force, and Jobs to Fight COVID-19 Act in the American Rescue Plan to meet these rising demands and keep our fellow New Yorkers safe and healthy,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This past week, I visited with some of the more than 500 Health Force workers that make up the inaugural New York City Public Health Corps who are making a difference in equitable and sustainable care in their own communities. Now, we need to ensure every American has the same access to this quality care, which is why I’m calling on President Biden to include $55 billion in his budget request to create a Health Force in every community across the nation.”

Gillibrand continues to champion the implementation of Health Force: her landmark, multibillion-dollar public health legislation passed in the American Rescue Plan. Gillibrand successfully secured nearly $8 billion for a public health workforce investment to create a robust public health workforce to aid vaccine distribution and mobilize community leaders to improve health outcomes in their communities. Over the last decade, the nation’s public health workforce lost nearly 40,000 jobs, while state and local budgets were slashed by 16% and 18%, respectively. It is imperative that vulnerable communities and health leaders impacted by this strain have the resources and capability to distribute vaccines equitably and efficiently, and trusted messengers with whom they can talk through their concerns. Last year, Gillibrand sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pushing to ensure implementation of her ARP-passed provisions behind Health Force in Section 2501, aligned with its original intent, including the implementation of labor standards and wages no less than $15 an hour plus benefits, and targeted hiring in underserved communities. 

Last week, Gillibrand visited members of the inaugural NYC Public Health Corps (PHC), New York City’s new local Health Force, to see this request come to fruition. Members of the NYC Public Health Corps carry out initiatives that target a broad spectrum of public health needs—from helping people get vaccinated to counseling residents about diabetes and depression. The NYC PHC received $35 million to help establish the inaugural Health Force based on Gillibrand’s efforts during passage of the American Rescue Plan.