Kaiser Permanente, PHI Announce $63m Contact Tracing Initiative
On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a partnership between Kaiser Permanente and the Public Health Institute (PHI) to strengthen and support contact tracing efforts throughout the state. Kaiser Permanente has committed $63 million in grant funds for PHI’s Tracing Health program which will hire, train, and deploy approximately 500 full-time, culturally and linguistically competent, clinically-based team members. According to PHI, these contact tracers will be able to contact up to 5,500 people per day. Governor Newsom also announced a coalition of 10 philanthropies have committed $18.8 million to support local health departments in building a culturally and linguistically competent contact tracing workforce.
PHI reports that over half of their contact tracers operating in Washington and Oregon are bi- or multi-lingual and most come from the communities they serve. The new initiative will recruit contact tracers from within communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, providing individuals with immediate jobs and income in the short-term, and providing job training and skills to guide them into the health sector or other career paths after the initiative has concluded.