[act-ma] 5/17 Organize Now to Save Our Lives-People's Response Sunday, May 17 @ 8:30 pm

Charlie Welch cwelch at tecschange.org
Sun May 17 07:36:25 PDT 2020

Howard Ehrman, <hehrman at uic.edu> writes

*Zoom meeting. Sunday **May 17, 2020 8:30 PM EDT: Organize Now to Save 
Our Lives*

*You Must Register in advance for this meeting: See Word Document at end 
of email*


*After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing 
information about joining the meeting.*

*Where Should Federal, State & Local COVID19 Funding $$$ Go & Not Go??: *

*Think & ACT Outside the Box of Contact Tracers !!*

1. *Federal, State, Local* *Public* *Health Departments*, *Hospitals, 
and Clinics*, including VA Hospitals, Clinics, Programs, Tribal Health 
Facilities & Programs, Indian Health Service to hire *hundreds of 
thousands* of staff to do *screening, testing, treatment, management, 
follow-up,* *contact tracing. *

*To be stationed **outside****every workplace **everywhere to screen 
every employee at the beginning of their shift for COVID19; *

*To be deployed **inside every workplace **to enforce maximum safe 
practices-PPE, barriers, **mandatory testing x 2 **of all sick employees 
before returning to work, **mandatory weekly testing **of all well 
employees, social distancing of workers, patients, customers*

*Please read: 

2.*Businesses* Owned, Operated & Certified by People of Color for *all 
aspects of PPE, barrier, supply chain, food, construction, 
transportation, equipment and more*

3. *Community Based Organizations* (CBO’s)

“Additional federal, state and local funding, supplies, and equipment 
should go directly to community-based organizations currently operating 
in U.S. rural and urban communities, especially in *zip codes most 
affected by COVID-19 deaths and infection rates*.  Public health 
departments and federally qualified health centers should partner with 
these organizations to *mobilize their neighbors* to participate in 
drive-up, *walk-up*, *door to door *and telephone screening, testing, 
management, follow-up and contact tracing.  These partnerships should 
also lead to the *design and distribution of culturally relevant 
educational materials and PPE* within said communities.”

*4. *Public & Non-Profit *Federally Qualified Health Centers* (FQHC’s) 
to *expand staff & hours*

*The present proposed U.S. Senate & House Bills have some good 
provisions but do NOT have any money going to **public health 
departments **and want hired workers to be **Americorps***

Where OUR MONEY should *NOT go: *Large NGO’s including, but *not limited 

American Red Cross, Dr. Paul Farmer’s Partners in Health 
<https://www.pih.org/>, Actor Sean Penn’s Community Organized Relief 
Effort <https://www.coreresponse.org/covid19> (CORE), CONTRACE 
<https://www.contrace.org/contact-tracing-jobs>, and more

FREE CONTACT TRACING COURSE-Certificate by Johns Hopkins University 
School of Public Health



U.S. Senate & U.S. House Bills including HR 6666 by Bobby Rush


*April 10, 2020 TO: Members of Congress *

FROM: *Association of State and Territorial Health Officials*

Date: April 10, 2020 RE: *Contact Tracing Workforce Background:*

In order to appropriately address the COVID-19 outbreak and potentially 
move to gradually reduce community mitigation efforts, we encourage 
Congress to ensure sufficient national capacity for COVID-19--this 
includes reagents for COVID-19 testing, personal protective equipment 
for both rapid COVID-19 tests and point of care and serological testing 
for COVID antibodies, and electronic data systems to rapidly share and 
receive laboratory data by public health.

We also encourage a robust contact tracing workforce that builds on 
existing state and territorial health agency disease investigation 
programs to find COVID-19 cases and isolate them.

Congress must provide flexible long term and emergency supplemental 
funding to expand the scale of (communicable) disease investigation 
specialists (DIS) and the contact tracing workforce within our local, 
state, territorial, tribal and federal public health agencies.

*Principles:*Below is an outline of principles Congress should consider 
when drafting legislative language:

1) Contact tracing workforce should be scaled *using existing capacity 
at the state, local, and territorial public health departments.* This 
workforce exists in health agencies and their communities. The ultimate 
goal should be to increase DIS and add lay contact investigator support 
using existing DIS. Commensurate expansion of federal, state and 
territorial epidemiology and laboratory capacity is also necessary.

2) Congress should not set up a system outside of existing public health 
agency response (i.e. FEMA) for hiring or placing new contact tracing 
volunteers. Volunteer management systems are in place in state emergency 
operation centers and new efforts must be integrated with current 
capabilities and capacity at CDC, federal, state, local, tribal, and 
territorial health departments to assure coordinated planning of 
volunteer deployment and consistent implementation of liability 
protections and safety measures.

3) The federal funding must provide maximum flexibility to enable public 
health agencies the support needed to recruit and retain staff.

4) The response and recovery will vary city by city and state by state. 
Workforce capacity cannot be based on a one size fits all approach and 
must be led by the state and territorial public health departments in 
partnership with local, federal, and tribal public health and emergency 
management stakeholders.

5) Workforce capacity must be built for the long-term. *COVID-19 will 
not be the last time the United States experiences an infectious disease 

We encourage recruitment from the existing workforce—this includes MPH 
students, established public health fellows, community health workers, 
and medical assistants. Support to forgive student loans for the public 
health workforce is necessary to recruit and retain existing and new 

Workforce Numbers: Currently only 2,200 DIS are employed throughout the 
entire country in local and state health agencies.

Based on preliminary research generated by *Johns Hopkins University*, 
it’s believed an additional 100,000 contact tracing employees are needed 
to address COVID-19 in the immediate future.

Additionally, a minimum of 1,200 new epidemiologist are needed to 
support full April 10, 2020 2 epidemiologic capacity as document in the 
2017 Epidemiology Capacity Survey by the Council of State and 
Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE).

Current Challenges: Due to state revenue short falls because of the 
economic downturn, some health departments furloughed staff which 
equates to lost capacity at the state and local health departments. 
These *staff must be rehired expeditiously* using supplemental and 
stimulus funding to support public health priorities. Furloughed public 
health department staff possess technical and content expertise to 
assist with the immediate COVID-19 response and eventual recovery efforts.

Funding: ASTHO encourages Congress to create three funding streams. One 
which will provide long term sustainability via a mandatory public 
health infrastructure fund, a short-term emergency supplemental funding, 
and finally a loan repayment program to quickly scale up the workforce.

• Public Health Infrastructure Fund: $4.5 billion in additional annual 
mandatory funding for CDC, state, local, tribal and territorial core 
public health infrastructure to pay for such essential activities. This 
includes disease surveillance; epidemiology; laboratory capacity, 
all-hazards preparedness and response; policy development and support; 
communications; community partnership development; and organizational 
competencies. This funding should be in addition to the annual 
discretionary appropriations. •

Emergency Supplemental Funding: Based on modeling generated by Johns 
Hopkins University, approximately $3.6 billion at a minimum is needed 
for state and local health departments to hire this staff. The mechanism 
to get this funding quickly out the door could be through the CDC Crisis 
CoAg. Programs at CDC that support this type of work include the 
Infectious Disease Division, STD, HIV, and TB line items. Again, it is 
critical that funding is not restrictive and as flexible as possible.

• Loan Repayment: Another critical step to invest in the public health 
workforce is enacting and implementing a loan repayment program at the 
Health Resources and Services Administration, for public health 
professionals who agree to serve two years in a local, state, or tribal 

department. $200 million in appropriations is needed to establish such a 
program. Supporting Organizations: The approach outlined in this 
document is supported by the Association of Public Health Laboratories, 
the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, and the National 
Coalition of STD Directors.

Contact: Carolyn Mullen ASTHO’s Senior Vice President, Government 
Affairs & Public Relations cmullen at astho.org <mailto:cmullen at astho.org>






Howard Ehrman, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor

University of Illinois College of Medicine
Mi Villita Community Organization

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