About: NHC Public Health Leadership Corps

What is NHC Public Health Leadership Corps?

NHC Public Health Leadership Corps is an AmeriCorps National Service program that recruits, trains, and places 117 members in resource-limited organizations called "host sites." NHC's Public Health Leadership Corps members help build healthy communities by providing essential health education and access services to individuals in communities plagued by histories of racial and economic inequities,  while receiving trainings and learning opportunities with public health, health and equity experts; and access to tools, insights, and diversity of mentors needed to accelerate and distinguish themselves as future leaders in the health and public health professions. A key priority for the NHC program is to reduce health disparities and the underlying structural oppression* that perpetuates them.

*NHC defines "structural oppression" as a form of institutional discrimination against individuals or groups which disadvantages some or advantages others based on shared characteristics. It can be intentional or unintentional and involves systems and structures as they exist through policies, protocols, procedures, processes and practices embedded in a history or legacy of unquestioned or accepted norms, habits and symbols. At the core of oppression…culturally embedded patterns of isolation, separation and dominion over nature (e.g., disconnect source, distort story, dissociate body, distance emotion).



The National Health Corps fosters healthy communities by connecting those who need it most with health and wellness education, benefits, and services, while developing tomorrow’s compassionate health leaders.


NHC envisions a nation where all people have the access to services and knowledge necessary to lead healthy, productive and fulfilling lives.

  • Decrease barriers for people who identify as Women, Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC),  LGBQITA+, and other identities who have been historically under-represented in health leadership to become healthcare and/or public health leaders in the future;
  • Decrease health disparities through addressing social determinants of health, including underlying structural oppression in communities plagued by histories of racial and economic inequities;
  • Improve organizational efficiencies, community engagement and reach of services addressing social determinants of health.

Where NHC Public Health Leadership Corps Serves

NHC Public Health Leadership Corps  has operating sites that administer the program in Central California, Chicago,  Florida,  Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco. NHC members serve at over 100 host sites in these communities, which include community and school-based health centers, county health departments, hospitals, and nonprofit and community-based public health organizations that experience challenges due to budgetary constraints and new demands for expansion and transformation of delivery systems. NHC members will produce significant and unique contributions to host sites' existing efforts to improve health outcomes in underserved communities by engaging in activities that confront community health needs, but would not otherwise be possible due to the lack of adequate funding, staffing, and resources at their host sites.

NHC's History

NHC is an AmeriCorps program with a long, proud history. Over the past 30years, more than 2,800 NHC members have completed more than 3 million hours of service. At a time of unprecedented need and severely limited resources, NHC members have the opportunity to make lasting contributions in the communities in which they serve. 

NHC is one of the original AmeriCorps programs funded by AmeriCorps. The NHC grew out of a program first funded in 1994 by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the Health Services and Resources Administration (HRSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which served as the coordinating agency. Three sub-grantees in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, then known collectively as the HRSA Health Corps, were the founding sites of what has grown into the NHC. In 1997, through a planned transition, the Allegheny County Health Department became the direct grantee of CNCS, issuing sub-grants to Philadelphia and Chicago and assuming the coordinating responsibilities of the NHC Parent Organization. At that time, the program name was changed to the National Health Corps. 

During the 2003 program year, the NHC was temporarily shut down when CNCS was forced to temporarily reduce funding across its program portfolio. However, the three original operating sites were determined to continue their collaboration and re-applied for funding in the following cycle. They were successful in receiving an operating grant, which included funding to support a new site in Florida, and re-established operation of the NHC in 2004 with the Health Federation of Philadelphia as the AmeriCorps national direct service grantee and NHC National Organization. 

In 2022, NHC grew into two collaborative programs:  NHC Public Health Leadership Corps (PHL)  and NHC Community Health Fellowship (CHF) that  includes a total of 157 members serving in Central California, Chicago, Delaware, Florida, Greater Philadelphia, Northeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.