Changes in the State Governmental Public Health Workforce: Demographics and Perceptions, 2014-2017

Kyle Bogaert, Brian C. Castrucci, Elizabeth Gould, Katie Sellers, Jonathon P. Leider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Context: Workforce is a critical cog in the governmental public health enterprise in the United States. Until 2014, workforce research was largely conducted at the organizational level. However, the fieldings of the Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey allow for nationally representative comparisons with individual respondents. Objective: Using data from agencies that participated in 2014 and 2017, we conducted multi-cross-sectional comparisons of the Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey data. Design: The Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey participants at the State Health Agency Central Offices were surveyed using a Web-based platform. Balanced repeated replication weights were used to account for differential designs between 2014 and 2017. Setting: Thirty-three state health agency central offices that participated in both 2014 and 2017. Participants: Permanently employed governmental public health staff. Main Outcome Measures: We examined changes in perceptions of the workplace environment, job and pay satisfaction, intent to leave, awareness of emerging concepts in public health, and demographic/worker characteristics. Pearson and Rao-Scott-adjusted χ2 analyses were used to compare changes between 2014 and 2017. Results: The percentage of staff who are people of color increased from 29% (95% confidence interval, 28%-30%) to 37% (95% confidence interval, 36%-38%) from 2014 to 2017 across 33 states. Approximately 26% of staff were younger than 40 years in 2014 compared with 29% in 2017 (P <.001). Job satisfaction increased in 17 states overall (P <.05, n = 5) and decreased in 16 states (P <.05, n = 5) but did not change in aggregate. Overall, the percentage of staff considering leaving the organization in the next year or retiring within 5 years is up from 44% to 48% (P <.001). Conclusions: Global measures of satisfaction are relatively high and consistent between 2014 and 2017. Demographics are shifting toward a marginally younger workforce as many retire, and a significant portion of staff indicates that they are considering leaving their organization or planning to retire.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S58-S66
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
Volume25
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Author Affiliations: Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Arlington, Virginia (Ms Bogaert and Dr Gould); de Beaumont Foundation, Bethesda, Maryland (Drs Castrucci and Sellers); and Division of Health Policy & Management, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Dr Leider). PH WINS was funded by the de Beaumont Foundation. Any opinions expressed herein are the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the position of their respective organizations. The authors declare no conflicts of interest. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal. Correspondence: Jonathon P. Leider, PhD, Division of Health Policy & Management, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, D305 Mayo Bldg, MMC 729, 420 Delaware St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (leider@gmail.com; leider@umn.edu). Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. DOI: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000933

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • governmental public health
  • public health workforce interests and needs survey (PH WINS)
  • workforce development

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