Regional Training Needs Assessment: A First Look at High-Priority Training Needs Across the United States by Region

Jennifer McKeever, Jonathon P. Leider, Aaron A. Alford, Dorothy Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Context: Although core scientific skills remain a priority to public health, preventing and responding to today's leading causes of death require the workforce to build additional strategic skills to impact the social, community-based, and economic determinants of health. The 2017 Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey allows novel regional analysis of training needs, both individually and across 8 strategic skill domains. Objective: The purpose of this article is to describe the training needs of public health staff nationally, across the 10 Department of Health and Human Services Regions. Design: The Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey was a Web-based survey fielded to 100 000 staff nationwide across 2 major frames: state health agency-central office and local health department. State-based respondents were fielded on a census approach, with locals participating in a more complex sampling design. Balanced repeated replication weights were used to address nonresponse and sampling. Setting: State and local health departments. Participants: Respondents from state and local health departments. Main Outcome Measures: This article draws from the training needs portion of Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey. Descriptive statistics are generated, showing training needs gaps. Inferential analyses pertain to gaps across Region and supervisory status, using Pearson χ2 test and Rao-Scott design-adjusted χ2 test. Results: Training needs varied across regions and work setting. Certain strategic skills tended to see larger, consistent gaps regardless of Region or setting, including Budgeting & Finance, Change Management, Systems Thinking, and Developing a Vision for a Healthy Community. Conclusions: Overall, the data suggest substantial interregional variation in training needs. Until now, this picture has been incomplete; disparate assessments across health departments, Regions, and disciplines could not be combined into a national picture. Regionally focused training centers are well situated to address Region-specific needs while supporting the broader building of capacity in strategic skills nationwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S166-S176
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
PH WINS was funded by the de Beaumont Foundation and conducted in collaboration with ASTHO. Ms McKeever, Dr Alford, and Ms Evans did not receive financial support for this work. Dr Leider was a paid consultant to the de Beaumont Foundation.

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


  • governmental public health
  • public health practice
  • public health workforce interests and needs survey
  • training needs assessment
  • workforce development


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