New studies of the public health workforce reveal signs of unprecedented change ahead. Notably, 38 percent of state public health workers plan to leave the public health workforce by 2020, either to retire or to pursue positions in other sectors.
"We have been concerned for some time that an aging state agency workforce would be retiring. This survey shows that many younger workers also plan to leave their public health positions," said Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) Executive Director Paul Jarris, MD, MBA. "Maintaining a vibrant, well-educated, and agile public health workforce is vital to supporting our efforts to serve the health of the nation, and we face a larger challenge than we expected in retaining a talented, effective public health workforce."
The Journal of Public Health Management and Practice (JPHMP) compiled the new studies in a special supplemental edition that analyzes data from the Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey (PH WINS). PH WINS is the largest-ever study of the public health workforce and was conducted by the de Beaumont Foundation and ASTHO. The JPHMP supplement is made up of peer-reviewed research and expert commentaries examining workforce characteristics, public health skills and capacities, and policy trends. PH WINS infographics based on the supplement are available on the ASTHO website.
"This survey points to issues we must work together to address," said Edward L. Hunter, CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation. "We need to redouble our efforts to reinvent workforce structures to reward creativity and innovation, provide opportunities for ongoing professional development, and engage with young and mid-level public health professionals in order to retain our best and brightest and build the workforce we need for the future."
Key findings included:
Materials provided by Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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