LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 15, 2010) − The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $3.2 million in funding to benefit Kentucky and Appalachian public health workforce initiatives. The grant will support the Kentucky and Appalachia Public Health Training Center -- based at the University of Kentucky -- in collaboration with researchers and public health workers at Western Kentucky University, Eastern Kentucky University, the Kentucky Public Health Association, Kentucky Health Departments Association and the Kentucky Department for Public Health.
“The national network of PHTC’s seeks to strengthen competence, performance and capacity to improve the nation’s public health system,” said Cynthia Lamberth, principal investigator and director of the Kentucky and Appalachia PHTC. "Regional partnerships with other HRSA funded centers will be critical to maximize benefit and impact while avoiding duplication of effort. The Kentucky plan calls for much needed training for the public health workers in health departments, community health centers and other health partners within the Commonwealth.”
The UK Public Health and Training Center is designed to meet the public health training needs of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Central Appalachian Region. The Kentucky and Appalachia Public Health Training Center's (KA PHTC) primary mission is to expand partnerships and critical linkages among state and local practice and academic partners in the KA PHTC region in order to provide improved access to education and training for the current and future public health workforce and members of the public health system.
“This announcement is terrific news for the public health of the Commonwealth,” said William D. Hacker, commissioner at the Kentucky Department for Public Health at the Cabinet for Heath and Family Services. “Competition for the grant was intense and this decision underscores the skills, talents and dedication of our public health professionals working to improve lives and reduce disease throughout the state.”
The proposed work of the KA PHTC includes developing training for the existing public health system workforce; encouraging students to select public health as a profession, collaborating with professional degree programs in medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, and health sciences for students who seek public health degrees and certifications; and providing stipends for students already enrolled in a public health degree program to encourage field placements in medically underserved areas. We will work to improve the public health training of those individuals in public health practice in Kentucky’s underserved rural communities, most notably Appalachia.
Grant funding totaling $16.8 million was awarded to 27 Public Health Training Centers (PHTC) at schools of public health and other public or non-profit institutions across the country.