The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information announced Wednesday an $ 80 million investment that will expand training and certification programs for institutions serving underrepresented students in the field of public health informatics.
President Joe Biden The US Rescue Plan has allocated funding to ONC as part of a $ 1.75 billion effort to strengthen the workforce linked to disease surveillance. Grants have been awarded to structures capable of overseeing an expansion of the public health workforce’s computing capabilities, which explore technological solutions to prevent disease.
The ONC’s program, called The Public Health Information and Technology Development Program (PHIT), is expected to train an additional 4,000 students attending “minority-serving institutions” in public health informatics and data science. Experts say such partnerships facilitate a more diverse workforce pipeline.
A 15% increase in the number of computer scientists and computer researchers is forecast for 2029 – more than twice the average growth rate of all occupations –according to data from the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, experts say Blacks, Asians, Hispanics and Indigenous people students are often unaware of this growth potential. The lack of diversity in the current workforce means that few students see the field as a career opportunity.
In a study by u Journal of Health Informatics and Biomedicine, the researchers analyzed 2,426 graduates with a doctorate in biomedical informatics from 2002 to 2017. More than 82% of those individuals accepted work immediately after graduation. A total of 12% included underrepresented populations, such as Hispanics (5.7%), Blacks (3.2%), and Indigenous (2.8%).
While the number of Asian graduates has increased from more than 20% to almost 40% over the 15-year period, the percentage of 12% underrepresented groups has not changed. The targeted exhibition through training and partnerships with organizations such as the ONC is widely seen as a sustainable strategy to attract more workers in the field.
ONC will issue an official notice for the funding opportunity between late spring and early summer.