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Building the Next Generation of Public Health Leaders

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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 placed 8 Fellows in U.S. state public health agencies for a paid two-year fellowship in 2021. 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 began to help lead the charge in building more healthy and resilient communities, while also creating a bench of public health leaders for the future.


The Fellowship

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.

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Participating States

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.

About the Fellowship

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: Training

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.

Life as a Fellow

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?

Host a Fellow
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