ALBANY, N.Y. (April 5, 2022) – This week, National Public Health Week, the New York State Department of Health announced new research suggesting that state and local health departments need to hire a minimum of 80,000 more full-time equivalent workers to provide adequate infrastructure and public health services.
To tackle this, the Department announced new strategies.
“While our Department and the State’s entire healthcare workforce has gone above and beyond throughout the pandemic, COVID-19 also uncovered the impact of longstanding underfunding of public health infrastructure at all levels. Additionally, COVID-19 has laid bare our deepest and most persistent inequities across public health, including the need to ensure a diverse workforce that reflects our communities,” New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. “This challenge, combined with exacerbated health workforce shortages adding to burnout and dissatisfaction among public health workers, is sounding the alarm throughout public health networks nationwide. We must do more to encourage current public health workers and cultivate the next generation of professionals.”
In anticipation of preparing for future public health emergencies, the New York State Public Health Corps (NYSPHC), a paid fellowship program, is being mobilized across New York to help build additional public health capacity to support COVID-19 vaccination operations and increase preparedness for future public health emergencies. This professional pipeline will bolster the state’s public health infrastructure by mobilizing up to 1,000 Fellows to provide critical support and services to local health departments. Fellows from recent graduates and students advanced in their studies in public health programs, nursing schools and medical schools, to retired medical professionals, and community members are encouraged to apply.
In addition to providing avenues for training and other professional development, Governor Hochul’s 2023 Executive Budget proposal includes more than $4 billion earmarked to support wages and bonuses for healthcare workers. Key components of this multi-year investment include $2 billion to support healthcare worker wages; $1.2 billion to support healthcare and mental hygiene worker retention bonuses, with up to $3,000 bonuses going to workers earning less than $100,000 who remain in their positions for one year, and prorated bonuses for those working fewer hours.
Governor Hochul has pledged to rebuild and grow the healthcare workforce by 20 percent over the next five years with a program designed to strengthen home care, improve the career pipeline, expand access to healthcare training and education, and recruit healthcare and direct support professionals to care for people in underserved areas.
In anticipation of preparing for future public health emergencies, the New York State Public Health Corps (NYSPHC), a paid fellowship program, is being mobilized across New York to help build additional public health capacity to support COVID-19 vaccination operations and increase preparedness for future public health emergencies.