Succession Planning in State Health Agencies in the United States: A Brief Report

Elizabeth Harper, Jonathon P. Leider, Fatima Coronado, Angela J. Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: Approximately 25% of the public health workforce plans to retire by 2020. Succession planning is a core capability of the governmental public health enterprise; however, limited data are available regarding these efforts in state health agencies (SHAs). Methods: We analyzed 2016 Workforce Gaps Survey data regarding succession planning in SHAs using the US Office of Personnel Management's (OPM's) succession planning model, including 6 domains and 27 activities. Descriptive statistics were calculated for all 41 responding SHAs. Results: On average, SHAs self-reported adequately addressing 11 of 27 succession planning activities, with 93% of SHAs adequately addressing 1 or more activities and 61% adequately addressing 1 or more activities in each domain. Conclusions: The majority of OPM-recommended succession planning activities are not being addressed, and limited succession planning occurs across SHAs. Greater activity in the OPM-identified succession planning domains may help SHAs contend with significant turnover and better preserve institutional knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-478
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by a cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (3U38OT000161-03S2).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • public health practice
  • retirement
  • state health agencies
  • succession planning
  • turnover


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