Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Prev Med. 2018 Mar;54(3):334-340. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2017.10.026. Epub 2018 Jan 11.

Reconciling Supply and Demand for State and Local Public Health Staff in an Era of Retiring Baby Boomers.

Author information

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. Electronic address:
Center for Surveillance Epidemiology and Laboratory Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.
University of Michigan Center of Excellence in Public Health Workforce Studies, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Arlington, Virginia.



The purpose of this study is to reconcile public health workforce supply and demand data to understand whether the expected influx of public health graduates can meet turnover events.


Four large public health workforce data sources were analyzed to establish measures of workforce demand, voluntary separations, and workforce employees likely to retire at state and local health departments. Data were collected in 2014-2016 and analyzed in 2016 and 2017. Potential workforce supply (i.e., candidates with formal public health training) was assessed by analyzing data on public health graduates. Supply and demand data were reconciled to identify potential gaps in the public health workforce.


At the state and local level, ≅197,000 staff are employed in health departments. This is down more than 50,000 from 2008. In total, ≥65,000 staff will leave their organizations during fiscal years 2016-2020, with ≤100,000 staff leaving if all planned retirements occur by 2020. During 2000-2015, more than 223,000 people received a formal public health degree at some level. More than 25,000 students will receive a public health degree at some level in each year through 2020.


Demands for public health staff could possibly be met by the influx of graduates from schools and programs of public health. However, substantial implications exist for transferal of institutional knowledge and ability to recruit and retain the best staff to sufficiently meet demand.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center