SALLY BERKOWITZ: The idea here is that this group of Public Health Corps fellows would receive this training, a level one type training from Cornell University that would help them be able to go out into the community across New York state into various different-- each of the counties would have a member of the Public Health Corps, or several, perhaps, who could engage with community members to really help continue and advance the overall vaccination plan for New York state.
GEN MEREDITH: What we recognized is, in order to respond to COVID, you actually need similar skills that you might need to respond in the event of a hurricane or flooding or an environmental emergency. And you might need the same skills to respond to a surge in, let's say, Lyme disease or a surge in measles.
So really, what we're looking at, and what public health education across the nation looks at, is building up core competencies, core abilities that individuals can use when they're put in a scenario to assess, to develop, and to assure. So we sort of go back all the time to these three core functions of public health, assessing, developing, and assuring.
SALLY BERKOWITZ: The hope is that we're growing the overall number of individuals who are in public health fields. So one aspect is training up people who are already in the field, but the other is to actually grow the number of individuals who are caring about these issues and are acting upon them in the community.
So it's sort of a long-term plan that would really help build a corps of individuals who are championing public health issues within their individual communities.
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Cornell is partnering with the New York State Department of Health and Northwell Health System to develop and train the nation’s first public health corps, which will support COVID-19 vaccine distribution and outreach – and improve long-term public health across the state.