The First Regional Consortium for COVID-19 Contact Tracing Kicks Off in Southwestern PA
In collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH), the Jewish Healthcare Foundation mobilized a regional consortium to support and scale contact tracing efforts with 50 members in less than a week. These members represent diverse partners across the region, including public health agencies, universities and colleges, community health worker (CHW) programs, social service agencies, counties, foundations, community health centers, health systems, employers, and workforce development groups. The Southwest Contact Tracing Consortium is the first regional consortium to support contact tracing in the Commonwealth.
The Southwest PA COVID-19 Contact Tracing Consortium will establish and monitor the number of needed vs. available contact tracers in the region, recruit contact tracers, assure that specialized training is available for the contacts tracers, assure ongoing supervision and education, and disseminate resources. The members will also develop a long-term plan and pipeline for the contact tracing corps that could be re-deployed to respond to other public health priorities over time.
During the group's kick-off call on May 28, Lindsey Mauldin, Special Assistance to the Secretary of Health at DOH, and Jennifer Shirk, Assistant Director at DOH, reviewed the Commonwealth's Contact Tracing strategy, infrastructure, and guidelines (click here for the plan and here for information for individuals and groups interested in contact tracing). Dr. Deb Bogen, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), and Meg Carr, MPH, Program Manager at ACHD, also provided an update an ACHD's contact tracing strategy. Following the overview, the group discussed the Consortium's scope of work to help scale the contact tracing infrastructure across the region. The Southwest PA Consortium will meet once a week for one hour to carry out this scope of work.