The University of Hawaiʻi (UH) is partnering with the Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH) to create a program to train personnel and community health workers to support DOH in conducting COVID-19 contact tracing. Health experts say extensive contact tracing is a key component to prevent the spread of the virus while relaxing stay-at-home-orders and restarting Hawai‘i’s economy.
The goal is to train approximately 300 contact tracers, as well as increase the university’s capacity to prepare 100 community health workers each year.
DOH at the peak of the first COVID-19 wave had over 100 contact tracers, including at least 30 volunteers from UH and other DOH divisions with backgrounds in public health, epidemiology, medicine, and nursing. This one-year, $2.5 million program will leverage UH faculty expertise and existing courses across the 10-campus system to quickly develop content for the contact tracing training.
“This has been a brainchild of State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park and UH’s own Dr. Aimee Grace, who leads our UHealthy Hawaii Initiative at the UH System,” said UH President Lassner. “We believe that these programs to expand the number of contract tracers and community health workers will really help protect all of Hawaii’s communities.”