The University of California, Berkeley has announced the launch of the Kaiser Permanente Community Health Scholars Program, a new initiative designed to meet the increasing need for highly educated public health workers.
Funded by a $5 million grant from a fund that Kaiser Permanente established in 2004 at the East Bay Community Foundation, the program will work to expand the state's public health workforce by recruiting students from underserved communities and placing them in health departments and other organizations serving vulnerable populations. Based in UC Berkeley's School of Public Health, the program will provide scholarships and expanded support for UC Berkeley faculty.
The dramatic rise in flu cases caused by the H1N1 virus illustrates the need to expand the ranks of public health workers. "After graduating from UC Berkeley, these public health professionals will play an important role in protecting our population's health, and making our environment healthier for everyone," said Raymond J. Baxter, senior vice president for Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy at Kaiser Permanente. "Investing in the training of these future leaders is a critical step toward addressing the growing health challenges in California and the nation."