Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced the state of Illinois has been awarded $86 million in federal funding to strengthen the state’s public health workforce and infrastructure.
This first-of-its-kind funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will support efforts by IDPH and its local health department partners to promote and protect health and address health disparities in communities throughout Illinois.
“At no point in our state’s history has it been more clear how essential the work of public health professionals is to our collective well-being,” said Pritzker. “With the support of President Biden and the CDC, we can now further strengthen this essential arm of state government and give hundreds of Illinoisans an opportunity to further their careers in this crucial and rapidly growing field. This investment in our state will result in more robust supports and better health outcomes for countless people across the state- particularly those on the margins who are most at-risk and in need of public health interventions.”
“The last two-plus years have underscored the critical, life-saving importance of our frontline public health workforce,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “We are very grateful to the CDC and the Biden Administration for this major infusion of federal funding that will strengthen efforts already underway at IDPH and with our local public health partners to prioritize health equity and create a more modern, resilient, and efficient public health department.”
The funding from the American Rescue Plan Act will support efforts to recruit, retain, and train the public health workforce, including critical frontline workers such as epidemiologists, contact tracers, laboratory scientists, community health workers, and data analysts. In addition to $86 million over five years in funding to IDPH and local health departments, the CDC announced $28 million for the Chicago Department of Public Health.
IDPH will use the funding to create pipelines into critical public health positions, retain existing employees through efforts to reduce employee burnout, and provide a variety of training opportunities to improve workforce skills. The grant is intended to address urgent and ongoing public health needs in communities that are economically or socially marginalized, in rural communities, and communities with people from racial and ethnic minority groups.
The department plans to make improvements in its fiscal systems and grant-making process, invest in a department-wide quality improvement system, and upgrade its ability to analyze data through an equity lens to aid programmatic decision-making intended to address health disparities.
Further, the funding will support IDPH’s modernization of its data system to integrate the latest technologies and approaches to improve public health surveillance.
Stronger public health infrastructure allows state and local agencies to ensure food and water is safe, detect and track diseases, stop outbreaks, provide child and maternal healthcare, and monitor data.
For more information, including a full list of funded jurisdictions and national partners, visit www.cdc.gov/infrastructure/.