The Empire State Strikes Back With Public Health Corps
Written by By Tom Fleischman
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on March 24 announced the launch of the state’s free, online Citizen Public Health Training Course, delivered by the state's Department of Health in partnership with Cornell, for state residents to learn about public health, prevention and preparedness from top public health experts.
The program, unveiled in January during Cuomo’s State of the State address, will prepare and equip New Yorkers to become better versed in public health, and build an informed network of community health leaders across the state. Participants will learn about COVID-19 and other public health issues, while gaining insight into information and resources that will benefit their communities.
Developed by Cornell’s Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) Program and delivered through eCornell, the four-part online training program is designed to give New Yorkers the expertise and tools to take an active role in community-led initiatives surrounding public health improvement, and prevention and response in the event of public health emergencies.
“When our state was ambushed by COVID-19, New Yorkers rose to the occasion, supported each other and worked together to stop the spread,” Cuomo said. “Following the facts and the science has played a critical role in keeping the infection and hospitalization rates down across the state. Moving forward, it is critical that we are equipped with the tools and knowledge we need to protect ourselves, our families and our communities not just against COVID, but also against other public health emergencies that may arise in the future.”
Upon completion of the training, participants will be designated NYS Citizen Public Health Leaders and will be informed about how they can volunteer in support of their local public health operations — especially during emergencies — as well as how to find, use and share verified information about public health matters from reliable sources.
“Cornell University is proud to partner with New York state to deliver this public health training to educate individuals across the state to inform and support their families and their respective communities,” President Martha Pollack said. “We thank Governor Cuomo for his partnership in launching this training program, which we know will have a meaningful impact on the lives of New Yorkers across the state.”
“This program is a unique opportunity to make Cornell educators accessible to all New Yorkers, allowing them to learn about critical public health information that can help protect their families and their communities from COVID-19, promote and support their health and well-being, and be better prepared for future public health emergencies,” Provost Michael Kotlikoff said. “We are proud to partner with Governor Cuomo and New York state to make this important program a reality and we look forward to seeing its success.”
Dr. Gen Meredith, associate director of the M.P.H. Program, led the effort to design the initial four-part curriculum and build the team that developed educational content for the public health training content. eCornell helped turn the curriculum into an interactive and engaging web-based training. The curriculum helps learners be even more engaged in COVID-19 prevention, and other efforts to improve public health in New York, Meredith said, and covers the central themes of public health, including health literacy, access, community engagement, equity and sustainability.
“Throughout this entire pandemic we have relied on the trusted voices of scientists and public health experts to learn about and beat back the virus,” said Lorin D. Warnick, Ph.D. ’94, the Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine.
“The Citizen Public Health Training Program will be available to all New Yorkers, allowing them to learn from Cornell’s top educators and become public health leaders for their own communities and beyond,” Warnick said. “This innovative new program would not be possible without our partnership with New York state, and I thank Governor Cuomo for empowering New Yorkers to help defeat COVID once and for all.”
More information on the Citizen Public Health Training Program, including how to register to become a NYS Citizen Public Health Leader, is available here. •