Staffing Local Health Departments in Minnesota-Needs, Priorities, and Concerns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: The roles and responsibilities of local health departments (LHDs), as well as the hiring challenges they face, have changed since the pandemic started. Objectives: To explore (1) staffing needs and priorities of LHDs in Minnesota, and (2) financial and community-level factors impeding health departments from maintaining optimal staffing. Design, Setting, and Participants: A cross-sectional online survey was administered via Qualtrics in July 2022 to city and county health departments in Minnesota (97% participation rate). It included both open-and close-ended questions concerning staffing needs and priorities of LHDs and challenges to hiring after the pandemic started. Results: Staffing priorities of LHDs included public health nurses, community health workers, and health planners/researchers/analysts. Hiring concerns included creating new permanent positions, offering competitive salaries, and filling open positions. Inadequate funds made it difficult to create new permanent positions and offer competitive salaries. External factors such as lack of affordable or reliable childcare, housing, and transportation also contributed to hiring challenges. Conclusions: There is a need to increase staffing levels of the Minnesota public health enterprise by filling vacant positions and creating new positions. Increasing the public health workforce requires adequate sustainable funding along with creative solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-441
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, grant no. 90ET0495-01-04.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.


  • local health departments
  • public health occupations taxonomy workforce constraints
  • public health workforce

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.


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