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Houlahan, Bera, Brooks, Foster Outline Plan To Support National Testing Strategy

Call For A National Public Health Corps To Slow The Rate Of Infection, Conduct More Testing, And Eventually Vaccinate The Public

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, in a letter to House leadership, Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Ami Bera (D-CA), Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Bill Foster (D-IL) outlined a plan to bolster our nation’s public health workforce to help bring about a swift end to this crisis. These bipartisan Members are advocating for a National Public Health Corps, which would provide our state and local health departments with much needed dedicated personnel who can carry out contact tracing, a national testing strategy, and, once developed, vaccination. This proposal seeks to solve the personnel issue our nation is presently facing – there is simply a shortage of people to conduct the contact tracing on a scale necessary to reopen our country. This plan would provide the nation’s public health sector with an infusion of dedicated, service-minded individuals.

“To safely reopen our country, we need to swiftly implement a comprehensive national testing strategy,” said Houlahan. “In order to execute said strategy, we need a team of dedicated civil servants who can carry out testing, contact tracing, and more. That is why I, along with a bipartisan coalition, am calling for the creation of a National Public Health Corps to help aid our frontline health care workers on the ground across the country. As an AmeriCorps member and veteran, I know what it takes to serve this country, and I know how hard those on the front lines are working to mitigate the spread of this pandemic. We need to do everything in our power to support their efforts. I urge the Administration to move expediently in creating this vital National Public Health Corps.”

“Testing in the United States has been woefully inadequate,” said Rep. Ami Bera, M.D. “We urgently need a national testing strategy to help communities safely reopen. Such a strategy will require a large, trained, and deployable workforce to conduct the widespread contact tracing and serological testing that is necessary to identify who is infected and who may be immune. I’m proud to join my colleagues in our bipartisan call for the creation of a National Public Health Corps which would provide states and local health departments with much needed personnel to implement a national testing strategy.”

“As our nation continues to fight this pandemic, we must continue to utilize all resources available to help keep Americans safe and healthy from the virus,” said Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks. “This proposal will create a National Public Health Corps led by trained national service members, including returned Peace Corps volunteer and other AmeriCorps members, which will help fill the gap in contact tracing and diagnostic testing to allow us to reopen the country more quickly and get Americans back to work.”

“We need a truly comprehensive strategy if we’re going to be successful at reopening our economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Foster. “This includes making sure we have sufficient personnel in place to carry out a national testing strategy, including trace-testing and the deployment of a vaccine. I’m proud to join my colleagues and call for a National Public Health Corps and give service-minded individuals a critical way to serve their country.”

“As Americans grapple with COVID-19, public health experts have made it clear that one of our best hopes for slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus is by massively expanding contact tracing,” said Jesse Colvin, CEO of Service Year Alliance. “By mobilizing Americans into national service to support contact tracing efforts we are not only confronting this public health crisis, but also supporting America’s economic recovery. We are eager to lift up this effort to utilize our existing national service workforce and also help put Americans back to work through national service.”


Full text of the letter can be found here.