Activist standing outside city hall, demanding healthcare for all

The United States Public Health Accompaniment Unit

In the United States, our national systems and policies often treat health as a commodity and a privilege rather than a human right, resulting in persistently worse health outcomes for people of color and the poor. Partners In Health launched the United States Public Health Accompaniment Unit (USPHAU) in response to a spiraling health crisis that exposed the deep inequities and chronic discrimination within our health care system.  

When COVID-19 hit the U.S. in early 2020, the devastating consequences of our fragmented public health structures became even more apparent. Inspired by PIH’s 30-plus year track record fighting epidemics and strengthening public health systems around the world, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts joined forces with PIH to create the country’s first statewide contact tracing program. The success of the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative led to requests from states, cities, and communities in hard-hit regions seeking PIH’s partnership in establishing more equitable, far-reaching solutions to stop COVID-19. Through a multi-million-dollar seed investment by The Audacious Project, the U.S. Public Health Accompaniment Unit was born. 

Ensuring a Comprehensive Public Health Response to COVID-19

From Navajo Nation to Newark, New Jersey, the USPHAU has focused on serving under-resourced communities of color, migrant workers and Indigenous communities. Our goals are clear:


Stop COVID-19 from devastating vulnerable communities.


Implement tactical solutions to emerge from COVID-19 stronger.


Transform community health systems and amplify the movement for health as a human right.


Our work is both pragmatic and aspirational, driven by our core values. We strive for justice; accompany our partners with first-class technical guidance and nimble operational problem-solving; enliven new and ambitious public health agendas around the country; work to dismantle systemic racism in the health system; amplify voices and lessons from communities where we work to influence broader national change; and combat failures of moral imagination. 

This broad vision will help stop COVID-19 in the short term, while creating stronger, more accessible and just public health systems well into the future.


Our Technical Advising Partners

  • Alabama Department of Public Health
  • City of Montgomery, Mayor's Office
  • Coalition of Immokalee Workers
  • Collier County Department of Health
  • Community Care of North Carolina
  • Community Organized Relief Effort 
  • Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment 
  • Cook County Department of Public Health
  • Episcopal Farmworker Ministry
  • Fulton County Board of Health
  • Healthcare Collaborative of Greater Columbus
  • Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida
  • Illinois Department of Public Health
  • Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness
  • New Bedford Health Department
  • North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
  • Metropolitan United Methodist Church
  • Mision Peniel
  • Ohio Department of Health
  • Pima County Health Department
  • Seventh Generation Midwives Toronto

Our Learning, Convening, and Advocacy Partners

  • Ariadne Labs
  • Center for Popular Democracy
  • Health Leads
  • ideas42
  • National Community-Based Workforce Alliance
  • Public Health Jobs Now!
  • Right to Health Action
  • Service Employees International Union
  • Surgo Ventures
  • Vaccine Equity Cooperative
  • Yale Global Health Justice Partnership

Our Funders

  • Audacious Project
  • Caerus Foundation
  • Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
  • Health First Collaborative
  • Hollyhock Foundation
  • Island Foundation
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • South Coast Community Foundation