What is the American Connections Program?
Millions of Americans go without broadband internet access—most of them in rural communities. The American Connection Project fosters long-term digital inclusion in support of vibrant and thriving rural communities.
Efforts include raising awareness about the critical nature of connectivity; advocating for meaningful policy reform and broadband investment; and, taking decisive action to provide connectivity options where they’re needed most.
Land O’Lakes, Inc. is convening organizations and leaders from across the country in this critical time to build strong rural communities positioned for competitiveness and connection now and in the future.
What is the ASTHO Public Health Equity Corps?
As our nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) is partnering with Lead For America (LFA) to build the next generation of public health leaders. Together, ASTHO and LFA will place fellows in U.S. state public health agencies for a paid two-year fellowship. Fellows strengthen state health agency efforts to build healthy and resilient communities with a particular immediate focus on equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
Since the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak was declared a public health emergency by United States authorities in January 2020, ASTHO has been working with partners across the nation to ensure state and territorial agencies have the resources and information they need to effectively respond to the crisis.
In 2021, Public Health Equity Corps fellows will help lead the charge in building more healthy and resilient communities, while also creating a bench of public health leaders for the future.
Public Health Equity Corps (PHEC) Fellows will work directly to build healthy and resilient communities by:
Increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates among the community’s most vulnerable populations;
Strengthening the relationship between the state health agency and community members; and
Developing new strategies that can be used for addressing communication rates of other communicable diseases.
Applicants must be a resident, or have a strong connection to, of least one of the following states to apply: Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Utah, & Wyoming
Why become a PHEC Fellow?
PHEC Fellows will be immersed in a real-life public health challenge and will work alongside community leaders (government, health, advocacy groups, community, etc.) to tackle it head on.
Fellows will gain first-hand understanding, experience, and perspective of identified populations that differ from their own identity (race, religion, preference, age, gender, ability, etc.).
In addition, the Fellow will receive world-class training and mentorship that will prepare them for future roles in public service and public health.
Life As A Fellow
Fellows at Catalyst Institute
"Being a Fellow has helped me become more creative in approaching and addressing the issues my community faces. I've been able to establish networks of support and avenues of collaboration. What could have been a frustrating and lonely journey has been exciting and empowering."
— Shandiin Herrera, 2019 LFA Fellow
Grow: Catalyst Institute
Attend national kickoff training to learn from world class leaders, deepen your leadership potential, and build meaningful community with other change-makers across the country.
Serve: Project Scope
Work side-by-side with local leaders to build healthy and resilient communities by supporting vaccination efforts, boosting public health education efforts, and leading projects that strengthen long-term community health.
Create: Community Venture
Receive mentorship to start your own business, nonprofit, or community group to address the local needs and continue your passion.
Cultivate: Learning + Support
Strengthen your leadership and knowledge through ongoing retreats and training, advisors, and alumni opportunities.
Catalyze: Multiplier Effect
Recruit other leaders to support your community to build the next generation of leaders and strengthen your community's capacity for change.
Host A Fellow
Welcome Diverse, Trained Talent
Fellows possess extraordinary integrity, drive, and commitment to public service. Each has access to a variety of mentors, trainings and conferences. Fellows receive a world-class training in public administration from faculty at the University of Minnesota, UNC Chapel Hill, Purdue University, Tufts, Harvard, and other top schools, helping bolster their ability to contribute to critical capacity-building initiatives at their host sites.
Build Healthy and Resilient Communities
Our training is designed to make our Fellows real contributors in your organization from the start, and bring that needed capacity to make sure your community is resilient through public health challenges. Selected agencies will receive the following benefits:
Designated support to increase vaccine distribution among identified vulnerable population(s).
Apply learning and products to other public health programs.
No-cost, trained fellow for two years.
Access to innovations and lessons learned through Fellowship Community of Practice.
Potential to retain experienced fellow beyond formal fellowship program.
Opportunity to learn from peer agencies and leverage expertise from a community of practice.
Engage up to two staff in selected ASTHO and LFA leadership development sessions.
Make a Long-Term Investment
All Fellows are selected because of their long-term commitment to service, and Fellows are encouraged to work with partners in the community beyond their initial two year commitment. Fellows choose to mentor, teach, or otherwise engage local leaders and build relationships with key civic entities including public institutions, small businesses and community-based nonprofits. Participation in the program is not only an investment in your organization's capacity for the short term, but in the civic infrastructure of your community for years to come.
Connect With Civically-Minded Organizations
We believe it is important that we connect our host institutions and organizational partners to one another. As such, all hosts are invited to join our online community of forward-thinking community organizations. All hosts will also benefit from the resources of our university partners.
Interested in Hosting?
To host a Public Health Equity Corps fellow, hosts must be a governmental state health agency.
The 2021 application period to host a fellow has closed. Please fill out the interest form if you are interested in hosting a fellow for the Fall of 2022.
Frequently asked questions
Do I need to have experience with public health to apply?
How many Fellows do you plan to accept?
The Public Health Equity Corps plans to support 8 Fellows across multiple states in 2021.
Can international residents apply?
Due to federal eligibility requirements of our AmeriCorps grant, Lead for America may only accept U.S. citizens, nationals, or legal permanent residents for admission into the Fellowship. Unfortunately, this means that at the present moment, DACA recipients and OPT students are not eligible for the fellowship.
Can I apply for the fellowship if I already have a graduate degree or am in the middle of a graduate program?
Yes. Folks who have earned or are in the process of earning graduate degrees may apply for the Fellowship so long as they are legally authorized to work in the US.
How will I be notified if I am a finalist?
Can I apply to serve in a community I did not grow up in?
Yes! Applicants for the Public Health Equity Corps must have a strong connection to the state(s) they are applying to serve in. A strong connection could be: (a) where you were born and/or raised, (b) where your family resides, (c) where you went to, or currently attend, college, (d) somewhere you lived in the past, or (e) a place you are committed to make your home long term.
Can I apply if I do not consider myself a young professional?
Most of our Fellows are young professionals, and as such, our programming is geared towards this stage in one's professional career. That said, we are simply looking for dynamic and passionate leaders who want to inject energy into, and give back to the community where they have strong ties. We welcome candidates of all ages, so if this program sounds like a good fit for you, feel free to apply today!
How do I know you received my application?
If you received the confirmation email, then we received your application. If you did not receive a confirmation email in your inbox or in your spam folder within 24 hours of submission, then email email@example.com letting us know.
What does the application process entail?
What are the qualities of an ideal candidate?
How does the Public Health Equity Corps differ from other Lead For America fellowship programs?
- Adopt and implement new community engagement structure and functions for long-term population health benefit.
- Apply COVID-19 strategies toward improvement of vaccination rates and systems changes to sustain efforts to reduce ongoing hesitancy among minority and vulnerable populations.
What is the duration of the fellowship?
The Fellowship service term is two years. Fellows should anticipate beginning their fellowship in August of 2021, and ending in July of 2023.
How does LFA select what organizations to partner with?
When and how will I be matched with my host site?
Will I be working with other Fellows in my placement?
A majority of Fellows work in communities without other Fellows. However, some communities will have more than once LFA Fellow, in which meetups and collaboration will be encouraged. It is possible that some PHEC Fellows will be close by to other LFA Fellows with whom they can connect.
What is life like after the fellowship?
Can I have other employment during my fellowship?
Because the fellowship experience is very intensive and we hope that Fellows can focus as much of their time as possible on impacting their communities, Fellows typically do not hold simultaneous employment. The living scholarship, housing scholarship, and other Fellowship benefits are calibrated to cover all living costs during the Fellowship experience, and additional financial scholarships are also available in special circumstances. However, we understand that each individual's context is unique, and we are happy to support Fellows in part-time jobs when needed to support the full nourishment and well-being of the Fellow.
Can I attend school during my fellowship?
Fellows may decide to complete additional certification programs or courses through one of our academic or strategic partners, or through other programs of their choosing. This may include working towards an online or part-time MPA program or any number of weekend part-time training courses. That being said, Fellows are expected to consult both their host government and LFA before making this decision.
What will the Fellow’s contributions to the project encompass?
The fellow will work alongside state health agency representatives to plan and implement programs to improve vaccination rates among the identified population(s). This may include, but is not limited to researching best practices, developing strategy, writing plans and reports, communicating with partners and the public, convening engagement activities (such as listening sessions, forums, focus groups, town halls, etc.), providing training and presentations, and interfacing with the public and political and civic authorities. The fellow will contribute to collective evaluation and reports and will be expected to present final work to the membership of ASTHO and associated audiences (to be determined).
What are the expected outcomes, deliverables and key deadlines?
Outcomes will be: 1) improved COVID-19 vaccination rates, and therefore disease protection, among the dentified vulnerable population(s); 2) expanded and deepened relationships between the state health agency, stakeholder groups, community organizations and residents. Key deliverables and deadlines will be determined in tandem with the host agency and may include plans, reports, group rosters and charters, community engagement guides, communication collateral, and/or related items. Final deliverables will include a presentation to ASTHO membership, and contribution to evaluations and overall project reports (strategies used and lessons learned at the conclusion of the fellowship).
What is the broader impact of this project on the community? Why is the problem worth solving?
There are notable and unjust disparities in health outcomes among populations defined by race, ethnicity, ability level, income, geography, and a host of other characteristics and factors. Additionally, historical injustices and systemic factors such as racism and biased public policy negatively affect trust for government, for healthcare professionals, and between population groups. By intentionally engaging partners, communities, and the public in direct, sincere, and enduring ways, states can not only impact the long-term outcomes for COVID, but other communicable diseases and public health issues as well.
Does the PHEC fellowship program qualify for Public Service Loan Foregiveness?
Lead For America Fellows who participate in one of Lead For America’s AmeriCorps programs qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. To date, that has only included the Lead For Minnesota program, but starting with the 2020/2021 cohort, each of Lead For America’s other programs are also applying for AmeriCorps grants, which if received, would qualify new Fellows for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program as well. Lead For America will receive a decision on all AmeriCorps grants by May 2021.
What benefits do Fellows receive? How much do Fellows get paid?
What if I need more than the baseline scholarship ammount to participate in the fellowship?
Who Is eligible to become a host agency?
State public health agencies are eligible host sites. ASTHO will give preference to states that are lagging in COVID-19 vaccination distribution among vulnerable populations and that have been pre-prioritized by the Kellogg Foundation (Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Louisiana) and/or by ASTHO (Alabama and Wyoming). It is possible that another community agency may be named as the host site, but only at the explicit request with justification of the state health agency and with their ongoing active engagement with the project and the fellows.
What are the expectations of the host agency?
Host agencies will enter into a memorandum of agreement with ASTHO and LFA; they are expected to assist with fellow recruitment and selection and provide a designated supervisor for day-to-day direction and oversight, a laptop with remote internet access, physical space for onsite working (if applicable and as work-from-home directives relax), and other operational supplies. Hosts will participate in periodic meetings with ASTHO, LFA, and other selected agencies to share resources, review progress, and identify solutions to overcome challenges.
What is the eligibility for fellows and what are the expectations of them?
What are the benefits to the selected host agencies?
Selected agencies will receive the following benefits:
● Designated support to increase vaccine distribution among identified vulnerable population(s).
● Apply learning and products to other public health programs.
● No-cost, trained fellow for two years.
● Access to innovations and lessons learned through Fellowship Community of Practice.
● Potential to retain experienced fellow beyond formal fellowship program.
● Opportunity to learn from peer agencies and leverage expertise from a community of practice.
● Engage up to two staff in selected ASTHO and LFA leadership development sessions.
What is the state health agency application process?
State health agencies that wish to be considered as host agencies should complete the brief scope supplement document. Agencies should replace the text that appears in red font with information about their agency and project.