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Am J Prev Med. 2012 May;42(5 Suppl 1):S17-28. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.01.031.

Public health workforce research in review: a 25-year retrospective.

Author information

1
Department of Psychosocial and Community Health, Public Health - Seattle & King County, and University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA. tmhill@uw.edu

Abstract

CONTEXT:

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation commissioned a systematic review of public health workforce literature in fall 2010. This paper reviews public health workforce articles published from 1985 to 2010 that support development of a public health workforce research agenda, and address four public health workforce research themes: (1) diversity; (2) recruitment, retention, separation, and retirement; (3) education, training, and credentialing; and (4) pay, promotion, performance, and job satisfaction.

EVIDENCE ACQUISITION:

PubMed, ERIC, and Web of Science databases were used to search for articles; Google search engine was used to identify gray literature. The study used the following inclusion criteria: (1) articles written in English published in the U.S.; (2) the main theme(s) of the article relate to at least one of the four public health workforce research themes; and (3) the document focuses on the domestic public health workforce.

EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS:

The literature suggests that the U.S. public health workforce is facing several urgent priorities that should be addressed, including: (1) developing an ethnically/racially diverse membership to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse nation; (2) recruiting and retaining highly trained, well-prepared employees, and succession planning to replace retirees; (3) building public health workforce infrastructure while also confronting a major shortage in the public health workforce, through increased education, training, and credentialing; and (4) ensuring competitive salaries, opportunities for career advancement, standards for workplace performance, and fostering organizational cultures which generate high levels of job satisfaction for effective delivery of services.

CONCLUSIONS:

Additional research is needed in all four thematic areas reviewed to develop well-informed, evidence-based strategies for effectively addressing critical issues facing the public health workforce.

PMID:
22502923
DOI:
10.1016/j.amepre.2012.01.031
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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