The Rockefeller Foundation, the Baltimore City Health Department, the Mayor's Office of Employment Development, and Baltimore mayor Bernard "Jack" Young have announced the launch of a $12.4 million public-private partnership aimed at addressing interconnected public health and employment challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Launched with an initial $2 million commitment from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Baltimore Health Corps pilot program will recruit and train more than three hundred jobless residents to provide public health education outreach, contact tracing, and, in partnership with nonprofits in the city, enhanced care coordination services for the city's most vulnerable populations, including older adults, uninsured individuals, and those who are pregnant and/or have young children.
The city has committed an additional $4.5 million in support of the effort, while the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst), the France-Merrick Foundation, the Goldseker Foundation, OSI–Baltimore, the PepsiCo Foundation, the Rauch Foundation, the Stulman Foundation, the T. Rowe Price Foundation, and others have pledged more than $2.3 million. The Rockefeller Foundation and the city are working to raise an additional $3.5 million for the effort.
Community health worker training will be provided to prospective applicants through the Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Healthcare, enabling individuals without traditional community health experience to participate. Training for contact tracing will include a course developed by the Bloomberg School of Public Health currently used across the country.
"The Baltimore Health Corps is first-of-its-kind because it will target hiring individuals who have recently lost their jobs due to the pandemic and live in communities hardest hit by COVID-19 as community health workers, including those without previous healthcare experience," said Young. "All three hundred-plus members of the Baltimore Health Corps will receive a living wage and a stipend for health insurance to serve as full-time, trusted contact tracers and care coordinators in our communities. I am grateful to this extraordinary coalition of philanthropists and operating partners who have worked tirelessly to launch this groundbreaking model in Baltimore City."
"The Baltimore Health Corps is the type of collaborative and innovative solution that we need right now," said Rockefeller Foundation president Rajiv J. Shah. "By putting the community at the very core of this approach, the pilot will support the city's public health and economic needs while serving as a model that can be adapted and scaled in cities across America."