FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Director, Media and Public Relations
NACCHO Applauds Introduction of the Public Health Workforce Loan Repayment Act
—Bill would support recruitment and retention of top talent to health departments—
Washington, DC, May 18, 2021 – The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), on behalf of the country’s nearly 3,000 local health departments, applauds the introduction of the bipartisan Public Health Workforce Loan Repayment Act.
“Health department staff have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 response for 18 months — keeping people safe, interpreting public health guidance, and rolling out life-saving vaccines. And they are doing so despite workforce cuts and tight budgets that make it difficult to recruit and retain the key talent needed to keep our communities healthy and safe. A federal Public Health Loan Repayment program is an important investment in strengthening the health department workforce across the country.” said Lori Tremmel Freeman, NACCHO’s Chief Executive Officer. “We thank Representatives Crow, Burgess, Eshoo, and Guthrie for taking this important first step to set up a system to help recruit and retain talented professionals to these critical jobs to strengthen health department capacity and protect the public now and into the future. NACCHO stands ready to work with Congress and the Administration to advance this important program and invest in the public health workforce more broadly.”
Since 2008, local and state health departments have lost 20% of their workforce capacity, while still facing challenging barriers to recruiting key positions and retaining experienced staff. NACCHO has led a broad coalition of more than 100 public health, healthcare, and labor organizations to support the creation of a public health loan repayment program to help address these workforce pressures by incentivizing recent graduates to bring their talents to health departments across the country.
The Public Health Workforce Loan Repayment Act would:
- Establish a loan repayment program for public health professionals who agree to serve three years in a local, state, or tribal health department.
- Make individuals accepted into the program eligible for up to $35,000 annually for loan repayment each year of the program.
- Authorize $100 million in the first year and $75 million in subsequent years to support the program.