Health care worker providing covid swab test to a child

Our Approach

Since the U.S. Public Health Accompaniment Unit launched in May 2020, our work has expanded to include all facets of the community-based COVID-19 response. We have trained and scaled-up numerous contact tracing teams that include integrated care resource coordination; established community partnerships for more robust, far-reaching problem-solving; and collaborated on vaccine rollout and distribution plans centered on greater equity and access. 

These efforts have created a network of public health professionals, policymakers, community leaders, health workers, and donors with a shared vision: innovative, effective responses to the pandemic that focus on the most vulnerable. Together, we’ve laid the groundwork for rebuilding a stronger public health system across the nation.  


Technical Advising


We work shoulder-to-shoulder with local governments, our partners and our colleagues in service to the needs of those who have been oppressed and left behind. We call our approach to partnering “accompaniment”—we embed teams in communities, cities and states to support the creation of more effective and equitable community health systems. Our technical advisors work as both strategic partners and frontline teammates who can solve problems, provide resources and networks, and plug holes where help is needed. We’re driven to find solutions, whether that takes simple or complex support, from designing epidemiological analyses and operating protocols, to expanding a community health workforce and creating new resource navigation programs.


Learning and Impact


Our learning and impact work has three main focus areas: convening, implementation science and evaluation. By convening practitioners across the country in small- and large-scale gatherings (webinars to workshops), we help facilitate the sharing of knowledge, so together we can build momentum toward a health system that serves everyone. We create resources—anchored in academic research, science and our 30+ years of extensive on-the-ground experience—to share with frontline leaders and practitioners so they can accelerate change. Our practical tools range from workforce models to contact-tracing scripts to the principles of care coordination. And we evaluate how we are doing to make sure the advice and assistance we provide and the cross-jurisdiction learning we support moves us closer to a just and fair health system.




Together with our partners, we advocate for policies and changes that lead to a stronger, more just and responsive community health system—a system that works for everyone. It’s a system that is less dependent on inaccessible hospital care and instead is centered around community-based primary care and social services. We use our experiences at the local level to shape our advocacy agenda at the state and federal levels, focusing primarily on expanding fair and just access to care, shoring up funding for public health departments and community health workers, and advocating for stronger social support systems.

To date, the USPHAU has:

Technical advising

Embedded technical advising staff in 16 jurisdictions to accompany local leaders in developing and implementing COVID-19 response strategies and informally advised another five partners on early program design and specific technical challenges;


Developed practical implementation materials and hosted on an open-source resource library, which includes an equitable vaccination toolkit, technical briefs that synthesize the latest research on Covid-19, and a series of Care Resource Coordination case studies; 


Engaged in federal advocacy and coalition-building to strengthen national COVID-19 response policy and financing. 

Equitable vaccine

Supported 13 of our partners to develop equitable vaccine distribution strategies

Learning Collaborative

Launched a Learning Collaborative of 242 members across 117 organizations who take part in regular sessions to accelerate best practice sharing.