This notice announces the opportunity to apply for funding under the Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network Program (RPHWTN).
The purpose of this program is to expand public health capacity by supporting health care job development, training and placement in rural and tribal communities. The expected impact of this program is to enhance clinical and operational capacity in order to adequately address the population health needs of rural communities affected by COVID-19, including those dealing with the effects of long COVID1. The RPHWTN program addresses the ongoing critical need in health care facilities for trained public health professionals serving rural communities. This is done through the establishment of networks to develop formal training/certification programs in order to help professionals in the following workforce training tracks:
Track #1 - Community Health Support
Track #2 - Health IT and/or Telehealth Technical Support
Track #3 - Community Para-Medicine
Track #4 - Case Management Staff and/or Respiratory Therapists
One of the central elements of the RPHWTN Program is to create stronger linkages between training programs and the health care entities that will ultimately employ or rely on these public health professionals. The four tracks selected for this program focus on activities that have direct benefits to the participating hospitals and clinics. For example, this includes workforce training directly related to the institution’s operations. It also includes workforce training and support related to case management, care coordination and population health while also aligning with broader goals related to value-based care.
Economic and health disparities, in addition to inadequate availability of rural health professional training sites, make it challenging to maintain a strong health care workforce in rural communities. As such, another important element of the RPHWTN Program is to develop workforce training programs that will promote diversity and inclusion in the workforce, which can help advance health equity in the community.2,3
The RPHWTN Program goals are to:
1) Establish a strong network of local health care and social service providers and educational institutions to create training programs focused on addressing the rural workforce needs in four critical public health tracks.
1 www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects.html (Accessed on 11/29/21)
2 https://www.nga.org/center/publications/creating-a-more-equitable-workforce-system-opportunities-for-governors-and-states/ Accessed on 10/6/21.
3 Achieving Equity in and Evolving Healthcare System: Opportunities and Challenges. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4724388/ Accessed on 10/6/21
2) Develop innovative workforce approaches to expand health care capacity affected by COVID-19 (including long COVID), such as cross-training (new and current) staff to help support business operations and equipping public health professionals with the skills to engage in population health.
3) Identify formal and sustainable pathways with rural health facilities to eventually employ or rely on the public health professionals who complete the RPHWTN funded training/education to obtain high-quality, good-paying jobs.
4) Design or expand culturally and linguistically appropriate workforce trainings that will enhance the competency of the rural health workforce in order to improve health care in rural communities.
5) Develop approaches in training current/existing staff to maximize their clinical/operational capacity.
Eligible applicant organizations shall be domestic public or private, non-profit or for-profit entities, including faith-based, community-based, tribes and tribal organizations. The applicant organization may be located in a rural or urban area, but must have demonstrated experience serving, or the capacity to serve, rural underserved populations. Applicants should list the rural areas (counties) that will be served. Proposed counties should be fully rural, but if counties are partially rural counties, please include the rural census tract(s) in the Project Abstract. The applicant organization should also describe their experience and/or capacity serving rural populations in the Project Abstract section of the application. It is important that applicants list the rural counties (or rural census tract(s) if the county is partially rural) that will be served through their proposed project, as this will be one of the factors that will determine the applicant organization’s eligibility to apply for this funding.