ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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:
ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia, as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in state-based public health practice.
Since 1998, the de Beaumont Foundation has worked to transform the practice of public health in the United States. Founded by Pierre S. de Beaumont, the Foundation primarily supports practice-based projects that provide training and education to the public health workforce; build public health infrastructure; and improve information and data management through innovative technology. For more information, visit debeaumont.org.
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SOURCE Association of State and Territorial Health Officials