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Am J Public Health. 2019 May;109(5):674-680. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2019.305011. Epub 2019 Mar 21.

The State of the US Governmental Public Health Workforce, 2014-2017.

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Katie Sellers and Brian C. Castrucci are with the de Beaumont Foundation, Bethesda, MD. Jonathon P. Leider is with the Division of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Elizabeth Gould and Kyle Bogaert are with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Arlington, VA. Angela Beck is with the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Fátima Coronado is with the Division of Scientific Education and Professional Development, Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. Gulzar Shah is with the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Health Policy and Management, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro. Valerie Yeager is with the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Health Policy and Management, Indiana University, Indianapolis. Leslie M. Beitsch is with the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine, Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallahassee. Paul C. Erwin is with the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Public Health.


Public health workforce development efforts during the past 50 years have evolved from a focus on enumerating workers to comprehensive strategies that address workforce size and composition, training, recruitment and retention, effectiveness, and expected competencies in public health practice. We provide new perspectives on the public health workforce, using data from the Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey, the largest nationally representative survey of the governmental public health workforce in the United States. Five major thematic areas are explored: workforce diversity in a changing demographic environment; challenges of an aging workforce, including impending retirements and the need for succession planning; workers' salaries and challenges of recruiting new staff; the growth of undergraduate public health education and what this means for the future public health workforce; and workers' awareness and perceptions of national trends in the field. We discussed implications for policy and practice.

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