Department of Health and Human Services’ Chief of Staff for COVID-19 Response joins AmeriCorps  

WASHINGTON, D.C.  –  AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, announced that AJ Pearlman has been selected as director of Public Health AmeriCorps, a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support the recruitment, training, and development of a new generation of public health leaders. 

Pearlman joins AmeriCorps from the Department of Health and Human Services, where she served as the chief of staff for COVID-19 response, leading efforts across the department to address and respond to the pandemic. Previously, she served as the health lead for the personnel appointments team in support of the Biden-Harris Presidential transition. Before joining the transition team, Pearlman was the senior director of city partnerships at KABOOM!, where she worked to develop multi-year public-private partnerships with municipal systems and community leaders to address disparities in access to play for kids and communities of color across the country. She also worked at HHS in several roles previously, including as the chief of staff and senior advisor in the Office for Civil Rights and as a senior advisor in the Division of Home Visiting and Early Childhood Systems at the Health Resources and Services Administration.  

Pearlman has served in many public health positions including associate director for policy for former First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign Let’s Move!. During her time with the Obama Administration, Pearlman led interagency efforts to make health and wellness resources available to youth throughout the nation. She received her juris doctorate from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and her bachelor’s in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. 

“AJ is a veteran of American public health initiatives with a wealth of experience across multiple federal agencies and nonprofit organizations,” said Michael D. Smith, AmeriCorps CEO. “Public Health AmeriCorps will help address the nation’s immediate public health challenges and support the next generation of public health leaders. I’m confident that AJ, as our director, will help us attain President Biden’s goal to continue addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and advancing more equitable health outcomes for our nation – particularly historically underserved communities.” 

“Over the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for a robust public health workforce in America. I am honored to be selected as the first Director of Public Health AmeriCorps.” said AJ Pearlman. “I look forward to using my experience to help AmeriCorps and its partners fulfill the promise to improve the health of every community, particularly underserved communities, across the nation.” 

Pearlman will lead Public Health AmeriCorps’ grantmaking and program efforts to prioritize evidence-based interventions across the nation through 2025, as AmeriCorps and the CDC implement the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic $400 million investment from the American Rescue Plan. Earlier this month, AmeriCorps and CDC announced more than 80 grant awards to state and local organizations. The first-year awards, totaling more than $60 million, will allow Public Health AmeriCorps programs to recruit nearly 3,000 AmeriCorps members. AmeriCorps members will serve communities by providing health education, supporting health-related research, assisting with testing and vaccination efforts and more. View a full list of opportunities on our website.

AmeriCorps continues to invest in the nation’s COVID-19 recovery. With existing programs in more than 40,000 locations across the country, AmeriCorps is uniquely positioned to bolster community response efforts. For the past two years, thousands of AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers across all 50 states and U.S. territories have continued their service, quickly adapting to meet the changing needs caused by the pandemic and have provided vital support, community response, and recovery efforts, providing support to more than 12 million Americans, including 2.5 million people at vaccination sites.