About the Academic Health Department

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) formed an Academic Health Department Consortium (AHD) with eight local schools and programs of public health with the common goal of bridging the gap between practice-based public health and public health academia in April 2019.  

On March 18, 2020, the Coalition for Local Public Health’s requested additional support and resources for the 351 local boards of health to respond to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Baker’s Administration responded with a request for the Massachusetts Academic Health Department Consortium to convene and develop an immediate action plan.  As a result, this group met on March 20, 2020, and established the Academic Public Health Volunteer Corps (APHVC) to connect volunteers to local public health departments to strengthen the COVID-19 Response and build capacity for local public health as quickly as possible. 

About the Academic Public Health Volunteer Corps

The mission of the Academic Public Health Volunteer Corps (APHVC) is to leverage a large volunteer workforce of public health students and alumni to augment, amplify, and promote public health efforts. This includes health communications, health equity, public health administration, and quickly supporting other needs as identified by local boards of health. 

More than 1,900 public health and community health worker students volunteered through a survey shared by their respective school and over 100 local boards of health requested assistance from this volunteer corps. As of April 20, 2020, over 800 volunteers have completed the required training and available to be deployed to support a local board of health.

APHVC is a collaborative program of the Massachusetts Academic Health Department including the following partners:

  • Massachusetts Department of Public Health
  • Massachusetts Health Officers Association
  • Massachusetts Public Health Association
  • Boston University School of Public Health
  • Bridgewater State University
  • Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Holyoke Community College
  • Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
  • Northeastern University, Public Health Program
  • Northern Essex Community College, Public Health and Community Health Worker
  • Regis College Public Health Program
  • Simmons University Program in Public Health
  • Tufts School of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health & Health Sciences
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell Department of Public Health
  • University of Massachusetts Medical School

Once matched, APHVC volunteers serve their assigned public health departments in activities that are identified as highest need. In the wake of COVID-19, these activities include contact tracing, public health communication, and promoting health equity. 

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