CLEVELAND (WJW) – A new partnership aims to close health inequities for Cleveland residents by investing in public health professionals.

“This is such an important grant for our city and for our region. We’re the only recipient in the state of Ohio to receive this funding,” said Daniel Tisch, director of Case Western Reserve University’s Master of Public Health Program.

Case Western Reserve University announced a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The university partnered with the Cleveland Department of Public Health to offer scholarships to prospective or advancing public health professionals in order to increase the number of local practitioners. 

“It’s an opportunity for free classes, free certificates all the way up to a free master’s degree in public health,” said David Margolius, Director of Cleveland Public Health. “So, for the folks who work in public health who have really felt burnt out over the past few years, this is a huge boost. A huge investment in them.”

Tisch said the grant will support local public health professionals to be even more responsive to the needs of the community.

“Where someone lives is the biggest predictor of their life expectancy, their quality of life,” said Margolius. “So, investments in public health professionals are investments in the health of our entire community.”

Case Western Reserve University will recruit 51 participants for the program set to continue for the next three years.

“This program is designed to help address some of the gaps we have in our public health workforce and provide opportunities,” said Tisch. “We know there’s a great demand for additional public health practitioners in our community and nationwide.”

Public health students will receive training and field experiences aligned with the CDPH during the course of the program.

“It’s been a tough few years with COVID and really this is the time to refocus on all issues related to public health in the city of Cleveland,” said Margolius. “So smoking, lead poisoning, traffic fatalities, gun violence all of those are public health issues we want to take on through this work.”