Public Health Informatics & Technology (PHIT) Workforce Development Program

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has awarded $73 million in cooperative agreements as part of its Public Health Informatics & Technology Workforce Development Program (PHIT Workforce Program). Funded through the American Rescue Plan, the program aims to strengthen U.S. public health information technology (IT) efforts, improve COVID-19 data collection, and increase representation of underrepresented communities within the public health IT workforce. ONC will support the overall administration of the program.

The 10 awardees, comprising Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), and other institutions of higher education, will form multiple consortia to collectively train more than 4,000 individuals over a four-year period through an interdisciplinary approach in public health informatics and technology. The consortia will develop curricula, recruit and train participants, secure paid internship opportunities, and assist in career placement at public health agencies, public health-focused non-profits or other public health-focused organizations. In addition to increasing the number of public health professionals trained in public health and informatics, these awards will increase the capacity of MSIs to train underrepresented minority students during the project period and long after federal funding ceases.

PHIT Workforce Program Awardees

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Bowie State University

Project Title Improvement of the Public Health Information Technology Workforce Contact

Contact: Dr. Philip de Melo (PI), pdemelo@bowiestate.edu; Dr. Birthale Archie (CO-PI), barchie@bowiestate.edu

# of students to be trained: 140 undergraduate and graduate students

Program Type: Expanding Existing Curriculum to New Institutions

Partners and consortia members: BlueCross Blue Shield CareFirst, Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP), Greater Baden Medical Services, MedStar Health, Prince George’s County Health Department, and Spring Grove Hospital Center.

Bowie State University (BSU) is the oldest Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in Maryland.  The Public Health Informatics and Technology (PHIT) Program will focus on preparing students to initially graduate with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Health Informatics and Technology.  In addition, a post-graduate certificate will be offered as well as a graduate degree.

A major goal of public health is to protect and improve the health and wellness of communities.  The “Health Informatics and Technology” program will prepare students to collect and process multiple data streams to improve public and population health delivery.  It will also equip students with the tools and skills to manage and analyze diverse datasets across healthcare systems that will lead to the creation of a continuous stream of professionals from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. The demand for PHIT graduates is strong and will grow as the volume of data generated by the public health care sector increases in complexity. The program activities include:

  1. Develop PHIT modules and deliver them to the targeted disciplines, including, nursing, social work, information systems, and economics undergraduate programs.
  2. Create new undergraduate Bachelor of Science programs on public health informatics and data science.
  3. Create a graduate certificate in public health informatics and data science.
  4. Connect students with summer internships at state and local public health departments, medical facilities, health care management settings, and other information health focused technology organizations

In addition, students will acquire skills in public health management, patient care standards, public health data analytics, digital health, and machine learning in public health science, disaster management and emergency preparedness, big data, cloud technologies, that enable the processing and exchange of massive healthcare datasets to address critical public health issues.

The program aims to train 140 participants at the undergraduate and graduate levels in coordination with members of BSU consortium partners, including CRISP, BlueCross BlueShield, Prince George Community Health Department, Greater Baden Medical Services, and Spring Grove Hospital Center, will establish paid internships, and assist students with career placement opportunities.

California State University Long Beach

Project Title: California Consortium for Public Health Informatics & Technology (CCPHIT)

Contact: Kamiar Alaei (PI), Kamiar.alaei@csulb.edu; Gora Datta (CO-PI), gora.datta@berkeley.edu

# of students to be trained: 700 graduate, undergraduates and working professionals

Program Type: New Program

Partners and consortia members: Adventist Health Bakersfield, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Alameda public health department, Bakersfield College, CAL2CAL, California Black Women’s Health project, California Department of Health Care Access and Information, California Department of Public Health, California Health Workers Union (SEIU-FHW), California Primary Care Association, California State University East Bay, Center for Latino Health at California State University Long Beach, Center for Successful Aging at California State University Long Beach, Chaffey College, City of Long Beach Public Health Department, Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, Dignity Health Southern California, ESRI, Fresno City College, Futuro Health, IEEE Southern California, Institute for International Health and Education, LA Community College District, Kaiser Permanente, Kern Public Health Department, Las Positas College, Long Beach City College, Masimo, MemorialCare Health System, Orange County Community Health Coalition, Saddleback College, San Francisco Public Health Department, Shasta College, Shasta County Public Health Department, University of California Berkeley School of Public Health and College of Engineering and US Department of Veterans Affairs Long Beach Healthcare Hospital.

California State University Long Beach (CSULB) and a statewide network of partners have built a consortium to effectively address the demand for diverse skilled workers in public health informatics and technology (PHIT) jobs throughout California with an emphasis on minority students. CSULB proposes an inclusive three-tier CCPHIT education model that includes the California community colleges, California State University campuses and the University of California. CCPHIT will develop culturally relevant, interdisciplinary public health informatics curricula through a health equity lens. The curricula will include multiple tracks that prepare students to meet the needs of local health care and public health agencies and other vital industry and non-profit public health-related employers. Sustainable programming will target diverse students seeking certifications, associate, bachelor's or master's degrees.

CCPHIT will develop a training program with paid on-the-job training and wraparound support to remove barriers and ensure student success. To align training with career pathways, CCPHIT will identify and create a list, vetted by employer partners, of the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for fundamental public health informatics jobs. The four-year training program aims to reach 700 people at undergraduate and graduate levels with expected student enrollment of: 

  • 100 in year two;
  • 200 in year three; and
  • 400 in year four.

CCPHIT is a public-private partnership that brings together industry, academia, and government partners to focus on public health informatics and technology workforce development to benefit students, minority population and working professionals,

Dominican College of Blauvelt

Project Title: Public Health Informatics & Technology Program a/k/a The PHIT Force

Contact: Carrie Boericke, carrie.boericke@dc.edu    

# of students to be trained: 100 undergraduate and post-graduate certificate students

Program Type: Expanding Existing Curriculum to New Institutions

Partners and consortia members: Bon Secours Charity Health System and Mount Sinai Health System, CorEvitas LLC, Cornerstone Family Healthcare (a Federally Qualified Health Center), EmpiRx Health (a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM)), and the New York State Department of Health Office of Public Health Practice.

Under the Public Health Informatics & Technology (PHIT) Force program, the Dominican College of Blauvelt (DC) plans to expand its educational offering to increase the number of public health professionals trained in informatics and technology. Dominican’s existing Health Sciences and IT programs will join forces to deliver the multidisciplinary course offerings which comprise the PHIT Force program. Starting in the fall term of 2022, Dominican College will offer a five-course concentration/minor for undergraduate students and a four-course certificate for post-graduate career development.

Curricula will be developed in close partnership with consortium members, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), other PHIT Program awardees and trade organizations, such as the Health Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS), and the Public Health Informatics Institute. Internships for undergraduates will consist of at least 100 hours of applicable work/training for which students will earn a stipend and three credits toward their undergraduate degree. DC intends to attract 40 undergraduate and post-graduate PHIT Force candidates in the New York Hudson Valley for the academic year 2022-2023 and 30 candidates in each of the following two years. The ultimate objective is to expand and diversify the public health informatics workforce through degree attainment and career advancement.

Jackson State University

Project Title: Jackson State University School of Informatics & Analytics Workforce Development Program with Emphasis in Public Health Informatics, Population Informatics and Nursing informatics: Core Competencies and Curriculum Design Public Health Informatics & Technology (PHIT@JSU Consortium)

Contact: Girmay Berhie, girmay.berhie@jsums.edu

# of students to be trained:  PHIT@ JSU will train 200 faculty, staff and community college and high school students, confer 120 undergraduate and graduate degrees and 75 certificates/badges. 

Program Type: Expanding Existing Curriculum to New Institutions

Partners and consortia members: Alcorn State University, the IBM HBCU Academic Initiative, Mississippi Department of Health, Quinn Healthcare, MS Chamber of Commerce.  

Jackson State University (JSU) and its partners ‘PHIT@JSU Consortium’ will use the consortium approach to implement, facilitate and sustain a workforce development plan. This perspective will:

  • leverage the strengths of its members;
  • share best practices;
  • learn from each other's expertise; increase program exposure;
  • create credibility within the community;
  • avoid duplicative efforts and achieve mutually beneficial goals to modernize the public health data infrastructure;
  • expand public health informatics education programs; and
  • diversify the public health workforce of the future. 

The PHIT@JSU Consortium partnership will allow the two institutions of higher learning, JSU and Alcorn State University, to share existing infrastructure and capabilities to prepare, train and place underrepresented minorities into public health informatics and technology careers. The consortium will promote and recruit for informatics and analytics trainings, certificates and degree programs in

  • public health informatics;
  • bioinformatics;
  • nursing informatics;
  • health informatics;
  • data sciences;
  • data analytics; and
  • business analytics.

These programs will reach and address the goals of equity in public health needs for training and career placement of undergraduate minority students and professionals in a sustainable certificate and degree program. The training will focus on internships, badges, certificates and undergraduate and graduate degree programs in cooperation with consortium institutions.

The PHIT@JSU Consortium seeks to contribute to the training of at least 200 individuals, 120 undergraduate and graduate degrees and 75 certificates/badges specifically designed to improve the nation's informatics and analytics workforce and reduce long standing health disparities and inequities.

Norfolk State University

Project Title: The Public Health Informatics & Technology (PHIT) Workforce Development Program

Project Title: Increasing the Number of Individuals Trained in Health Informatics with a Focus on Underrepresented Minorities

Contact: Marie St Rose, mstrose@nsu.edu  

# of students to be trained: 110 graduate students

Program Type: New Program

Partners and consortia members: Hampton Roads Community Health Center (HRCHC) and Virginia Department of Health (VDH)

Norfolk State University, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health and Hampton Roads Community Health Center, proposes to establish an online Master of Health Informatics degree program under the College of Science, Engineering and Technology. The proposed degree program will focus on recruiting underrepresented minorities to reduce long standing health disparities and inequities. The culturally responsive curriculum will be designed to meet the needs of local and state health care organizations and build students’ capacity for success. Subject areas in the curriculum will include:

  • health equity;
  • data integration and health
  • data management; data science;
  • electronic health records and interoperability;
  • epidemiology;
  • health Informatics;
  • health informatics internship;
  • healthcare organizations;
  • law of healthcare administration;
  • population health;
  • public health analytics;
  • public health reporting;
  • public health emergency preparedness and response;
  • workflows; and
  • public policy. 

A qualified cohort of 110 students will enter in the proposed degree program and be advised and mentored throughout their studies. The curriculum will require a full summer semester internship for all students enrolled in the Master of Health Informatics with expectation of monetary compensation.

Regents of the University of Minnesota

Project Title: Training in Informatics for Underrepresented Minorities in Public Health (TRIUMPH) Consortium

Contact: Rebecca Wurtz, rwurtz@umn.edu, Sripriya Rajamani, sripriya@umn.edu

# of students to be trained: 450 undergraduate and graduate students, and 200 members of public health workforce

Program Type: Expanding Existing Curriculum to New Institutions

Partners and consortia members: Bethune-Cookman University, Florida Department of Health in Volusia County, Georgia Coastal Health District, Georgia Southern University, HealtHIE Georgia, Minnesota Department of Health, Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII), University of Minnesota and University of Southern Florida.

The Training in Informatics for Underrepresented Minorities in Public Health (TRIUMPH) Consortium is a dynamic collaboration across academic institutions serving underrepresented individuals in Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, and national partners with reach beyond the member states. Each academic partner will build on existing informatics academic strengths and relationships with practice- and community-based partners to pilot new content and approaches with the goal of translating these pilots into national offerings.

Academic members (i.e., Bethune-Cookman University, Georgia Southern University, University of Minnesota and University of Southern Florida) will collaborate with practice partners (e.g., Minnesota Department of Health, Georgia Coastal Health District, Florida Department of Health in Volusia County, HealtHIE Georgia) and other health departments, non-profit entities (PHII), health care organizations and Public Health Informatics & Technology-focused companies to develop templates for applied practice, public health informatics experiences. These templates include standard training elements, study materials and fiscal support mechanisms for placement sites and stipend support for students.

TRIUMPH plans to enroll up to 450 students in degree programs boosted with public health informatics skills with an emphasis on underrepresented students and equity-focused content. These programs include:

  • Five Master of Public Health academic programs;
  • Doctor of Public Health in Public Health Leadership and a Doctor of Public Health in Health Policy at Georgia Southern University; and
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nursing Informatics at the University of Minnesota

TRIUMPH also plans to train at least 200 members of the public health workforce in collaboration with PHII in information management skills with an emphasis on underrepresented learners and equity-focused informatics content.

University of California, Irvine

Project Title: Transforming Public Health Informatics and Technology Training to Advance Diversity and Equity - Public Health Informatics and Technology Program (UCI-OCHCA-OCHIN-PHIT)

Contact: Kai Zheng, kai.zheng@uci.edu

# of students to be trained: 300 undergraduate and certificate students

Program Type: Expanding Existing Curriculum to New Institutions

Partners and consortia members: AdvanceOC, BeWell Orange County, California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions, CalOptima, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Southern California Chapter, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, L.A. Care Health Plan, Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance Inc., Orange County Coalition of Community Health Centers, Orange County Health Improvement Partnership, Orange County Health Care Agency, Oregon Community Health Information Network, Public Health Alliance of Southern California, Washington Association for Community Health.

In partnership with the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) and the Oregon Community Health Information Network (OCHIN), the University of California, Irvine (UCI) is uniquely positioned to develop a robust, inclusive, and sustainable Public Health Informatics & Technology Workforce Development Program (UCI-OCHCA-OCHIN-PHIT) with a national impact. UCI is one of the few members of the Association of American Universities (AAU) that received a dual designation as both a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI). Through the proposed effort, an interdisciplinary UCI-OCHCA-OCHIN-PHIT taskforce will overhaul the curricula of UCI’s existing undergraduate minor program in health informatics and continuing education certificate program in healthcare data analytics, with input from ONC and from consortium members. New programs to be developed will include a graduate certificate option in health and public health informatics for graduate students enrolled in the Master of Public Health program, other graduate programs in the UCI College of Health Sciences (medicine, nursing, pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences), and graduate programs in science, engineering, and other relevant disciplines. With these training components combined, the estimated enrollment of the UCI-OCHCA-OCHIN-PHIT program will reach 445 or more students and trainees over the next four years, with 300 graduated by the end of Year 4.

Anticipated enrollment of and graduates from the program include:

  • 5 percent Blacks/African Americans;
  • 20 percent Hispanics/Latinx; and
  • More than 80 percent of all students from ethnically diverse groups.
University of the District of Columbia

Project Title: The Public Health Informatics & Technology (PHIT) DC (PHIT4DC)

Contact: Mashonda Smith, mashonda.smith@udc.edu

# of students to be trained: 500 undergraduate, graduate and certificate students

Program Type: New Program

Core Partners and consortia members: Howard University (HU), Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP) District of Columbia (DC), DC Primary Care Association (DCPCA), Zane Networks LLC (Zane)

The Public Health Informatics & Technology (PHIT) DC (PHIT4DC) project will optimize the history and legacy of two of Washington’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities to collaborate with the consortium to accomplish the following:

  • Establish a consortium for instituting and sustaining PHIT4DC Workforce Development and Career programs;
  • Develop an interdisciplinary, and culturally responsive curriculum with special focus on certificate and degree programs in public health informatics, pharmacy health information technologies, and data science;
  • Develop and implement a cross-institutional infrastructure between the University of the District of Columbia and Howard University that will build a consistent recruitment pipeline from underserved populations who live in under-resourced areas in Washington, DC, specifically Wards 7 and 8;
  • Develop equity transfer initiatives to accelerate PHIT training pathways from high school; workforce development and lifelong learning; associate degrees to bachelor’s degrees; and health professional/MPH/graduate degrees in PHIT;
  • Develop and implement a robust, PHIT competency-based prior learning assessment program as appropriate for specific curriculum pathways; and
  • Develop a sustainable training, internship/job placement infrastructure across consortium partners that will orchestrate a natural pipeline for employment from vested stakeholders in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.

PHIT4DC aims to recruit at least 500 underrepresented minority participants over a four-year period.

University of Massachusetts at Lowell

Project Title: Enhancing the Public Health IT Workforce in the Merrimack Valley

Contact: Dan Berlowitz, Dan_Berlowitz@uml.edu   

# of students to be trained: 150 undergraduate, graduate and certificate students

Program Type: Expanding Existing Curriculum to New Institutions

Partners and consortia members: Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Lawrence Board of Health, Lowell Health Department, Greater Lowell Health Alliance, Lawrence Family Health Center, Lowell Community Health Center, Department of Veterans Affairs, Lowell General Hospital, Northern Essex Community College, Middlesex Community Colleges, LLX Solution, and UMass Lowell Zuckerberg College of Health Science.

The University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML), a public Minority Serving Institution (MSI) located in the Massachusetts Merrimack Valley, proposes to work on this initiative with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, two local MSIs (Northern Essex and Middlesex Community Colleges) and a diverse group of partner organizations. The collective goal is to create a diverse group of highly qualified, public health information technology (IT) practitioners to work collaboratively and develop and apply cutting-edge health information technologies that turn data into actionable public health knowledge.

The following objectives are in place to accomplish this goal:

  • Modify the existing curriculum to create new undergraduate, certificate, and graduate pathways addressing health equity and public health IT;
  • Recruit and train a highly diverse student body into these pathways with 150 students completing this program over the four-year period;
  • Provide students with real-world experience through diverse internship opportunities;
  • Support student career planning and career placement at public health agencies, nonprofits, clinical settings and private-public, health-focused entities; and
  • Disseminate knowledge on best practices for creating a diverse and effective public health IT workforce.

Enhancing the Public Health IT Workforce in the Merrimack Valley expects to create a diverse, highly trained workforce that meet the public health IT personnel needs of the Merrimack Valley and beyond, enabling them to address health disparities in these local communities.

University of Texas Health Science Center

Project Title: The Gaining Equity in Training for Public Health Informatics and Technology (GET PHIT)

Contact: GET PHIT, getphit@uth.tmc.edu; Susan Fenton, Susan.H.Fenton@uth.tmc.edu; Eric Boerwinkle, eric.boerwinkle@uth.tmc.edu

# of students to be trained: 1,400 undergraduate and graduate students and 500 members of public health workforce

Program Type: New Program

Partners and consortia members: Border Regional Behavioral Health Center, Cameron County, City of El Paso, City of Houston, City of Laredo, Dallas County, Dallas/Fort Worth Hospital Council, Greater Houston Health Connect, Greater Houston Partnership, Harris Health System, Harris County, Health Equality Collective, HIMSS-Dallas/Fort Worth, HIMSS-Houston, Holding Institute Community Center, Houston-Tillotson University, Medical Center of the Americas Foundation, National Association of County and City Health Officials, Paso del Norte Foundation, PILLAR – The Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Foundation, Prairie View A&M University, Serving Children and Adults in Need, Tarrant County, Texas A&M International University, Texas Association of City and County Health Officials, Texas Association of Promotores and Community Health Workers, Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas e-Health Alliance, Texas Health Information Management Association, Texas Health Services Authority, Texas Tech University Health Science Center, Texas Workforce Commission, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Texas at El Paso, University of Texas Permian Basin, and University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

The Gaining Equity in Training for Public Health Informatics and Technology (GET PHIT) Consortium is focused on reducing the nation’s health disparities and inequities by expanding the number of public health professionals trained in public health informatics and technology. Led by the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health and School of Biomedical informatics, this consortium includes partnerships with:

  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities;
  • Hispanic-Serving Institutions;
  • Other university partners;
  • State and local public health agencies across Texas;
  • Community organizations and providers; as well as
  • State professional associations.

The goal of the GET PHIT Consortium is to train 500 existing public and clinical health professionals on informatics and health IT, while preparing an additional 1,400 students, primarily from historically underrepresented backgrounds, to fill a variety of public health roles. This will be accomplished using asynchronous professional development courses, summer boot camps, undergraduate curriculum modules, graduate courses for certificates, and graduate degrees. GET PHIT is committed to helping students in the program find gainful employment in public health informatics if desired. To facilitate these efforts, GET PHIT will actively solicit job openings from the many public health and clinical partners of the consortium. These opportunities will be distributed to students seeking employment and career services staff of those consortium partners with career centers. Services for students will include creating an impactful resume, interviewing effectively, and building a professional LinkedIn profile. These services will be provided at the sites of consortium partners with career centers and by UTHealth personnel when formal career centers are not available.

Questions or comments? Please submit via email to PHITWorkforce@hhs.gov

View the press release