APHL: Historic Investments Will Strengthen Public Health Laboratory Workforce

APHL: Historic Investments Will Strengthen Public Health Laboratory Workforce

Silver Spring, Maryland, May 13, 2021 — The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) welcomed new funding announced today as part of the American Rescue Plan that will strengthen the public health workforce, including historic investments in laboratory scientists and staff.

From the COVID-19 relief package, the Biden administration will invest $7.4 billion to recruit and hire public health workers to respond to the pandemic and prepare for future public health challenges. This includes $337 million to strengthen the public health laboratory workforce.

“This is outstanding news,” said Scott Becker, chief executive officer of APHL. “More than a year on the front lines responding to the pandemic has taken a huge toll. This is the administration saying ‘reinforcements are coming’ and we eagerly await their arrival!”

This new funding will enhance laboratory fellowship programs, expand training and improve the pipeline of qualified professionals serving our nation’s public health laboratories.

“We’ve seen long-term erosion in funding support for the core public health infrastructure that has dramatically impacted workforce shortages within public health laboratories,” said Becker. “That plus the prolonged duration of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has further strained staffing. This is a critically important investment to reinvigorate the workforce, build for the future and buttress our capacity to meet emerging disease threats.”

APHL recently surveyed its member public health laboratories and outlined recommendations in Public Health Laboratory Workforce Needs.

Contact: Michelle Forman at 240.485.2793 or michelle.forman@aphl.org

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 The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) works to strengthen laboratory systems serving the public’s health in the U.S. and globally. APHL’s member laboratories protect the public’s health by monitoring and detecting infectious and foodborne diseases, environmental contaminants, terrorist agents, genetic disorders in newborns and other diverse health threats. Learn more at www.aphl.org.

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