Baltimore Health Corps Hires 275 Staffers

Posted May 2, 2021
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog baltimorehealthcorpshires275 2021

A pub­lic-pri­vate ini­tia­tive in Bal­ti­more to trace poten­tial COVID-19 infec­tions and coor­di­nate care for those who con­tract the dis­ease hired 275 con­tact trac­ers” and com­mu­ni­ty health work­ers over six months, accord­ing to a recent report on the program.

The Bal­ti­more Health Corps — which is fund­ed by Bal­ti­more City, the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion, The Rock­e­feller Foun­da­tion and oth­er part­ners — tracks peo­ple infect­ed with COVID-19 and reach­es out to those who were exposed to the virus to con­nect them with test­ing and sug­gest quar­an­tine mea­sures. The city-run pro­gram also seeks to help peo­ple with the virus access health care and oth­er sup­ports, includ­ing finan­cial and hous­ing assistance.

The ini­tia­tive sought to pri­or­i­tize neigh­bor­hoods that were hard­est hit by the pan­dem­ic both eco­nom­i­cal­ly and in num­ber of infec­tions — which have pri­mar­i­ly been com­mu­ni­ties of color.

More than 85% of the peo­ple hired were pre­vi­ous­ly unem­ployed, fur­loughed or under­em­ployed. About 70% of the work­ers live in Bal­ti­more City and at least 65% iden­ti­fy as peo­ple of color.

Improved results

The pro­gram improved its results as more staff were added, the report says. With the team ful­ly staffed in Jan­u­ary, many more res­i­dents who test­ed pos­i­tive were being reached with­in 24 hours for trac­ing inter­views, the pub­li­ca­tion notes. The num­ber of peo­ple con­tact­ed who were referred to social sup­ports — such as help access­ing food and hous­ing ben­e­fits — jumped sub­stan­tial­ly over this peri­od, too.

The report cit­ed numer­ous fac­tors that helped the pro­gram adapt to the needs of Bal­ti­more res­i­dents dur­ing the pan­dem­ic — includ­ing ded­i­cat­ed staff, strong part­ner­ships and a com­mit­ment to data-dri­ven deci­sions. It also notes that Bal­ti­more could pur­sue using fed­er­al funds to tran­si­tion the work­ers into oth­er com­mu­ni­ty health activities.

This pro­gram shows how the phil­an­thropic and pub­lic sec­tors can work togeth­er to meet urgent needs and help res­i­dents find mean­ing­ful employ­ment con­nec­tions,” says Sara Muempfer, a senior asso­ciate with the Casey Foun­da­tion. We hope that pub­lic sys­tems con­tin­ue to take a sys­temic approach to address­ing big issues and work col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly to pro­vide much need­ed ser­vices for residents.”

Read about how Casey has sup­port­ed fam­i­lies in Atlanta and Bal­ti­more dur­ing COVID-19

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