Although disease outbreaks and epidemics drawing worldwide attention emphasize the importance and acute need for public health professionals, the world faces a longer-term challenge -- a public health workforce that is truly effective in the 21st century. In a new supplement to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, experts address critical challenges to public health, from workforce development, capacity building, partnership and collaborations, and changes and needs in workforce composition.
As the U.S. healthcare system evolves and communities gain more access to care, diverse forces are driving change, and the practice of public health is adapting. Given the challenges to the public health system and those faced as a nation -- including urgent health threats (e.g., antibiotic resistance, prescription drug use and overdose, global health security) and decreased funding for addressing public health concerns -- having trust in public health practitioners, their scientific knowledge, and particularly the public health system, has never been more important.
"The public health workforce is now not only required to take a lead in protecting citizens' health, but it also must provide the evidence base needed for linking public health information with clinical services and activities; offer targeted, scalable public health interventions; and support clinical services in a way that affects populations at large," notes Guest Editor Fátima Coronado, MD, MPH, Deputy Associate Director for Science, Division of Scientific Education and Professional Development, Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. "This supplement is both timely and important because it reviews some of the critical challenges faced by the public health workforce, discusses selected changes under way, and highlights data-driven research to advance the field of public health services and systems research."
This groundbreaking supplement, The Public Health Workforce, includes 22 articles from more than 30 institutions, agencies, foundations and public companies and covers two major areas: public health workforce capacity building and public health workforce size and composition.
Key topics in the Supplement include:
Guest Editors Dr. Coronado and Denise Koo, MD, MPH, Office of Public Health Scientific Services, CDC, Atlanta, GA, and Kristine Gebbie, DrPH, RN, Faculty of Health Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, write that "we are buoyed by the increased efforts to meet workforce challenges and the valuable contribution of researchers and practitioners to strengthen the public health workforce. Efforts to strengthen the public health workforce should be a continuing priority involving well-planned, evidence based, and coordinated actions from decision makers undaunted by the mission of transforming public health and improving the population's health while facing the complex landscape of the 21st century."
The special supplement can be found online at: http://www.ajpmonline.org/issue/S0749-3797%2814%29X0016-4
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