171451 Public Health Workforce: Linking Academic Programs and Practice Needs in Georgia

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 11:15 AM

Valerie Hepburn, PhD, MPA , College of Public Health, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Kathleen R. Miner, PhD, MPH, CHES , Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
John Parmer, MPP , College of Public Health, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Ariela Freedman, MPH , Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Decatur, GA
Five years since the publication of the IOM's, Who will keep the public healthy?, the public health workforce continues to suffer losses in both numbers and capacity. State and local public health systems reflect concerns about workforce shortages and competencies. Yet, ironically, the number of public health academic programs continues to expand across the country. To explore the current composition and future needs of the states' public health workforce and academic infrastructures, Georgia researchers partnered with colleagues in New York and Florida.

This presentation highlights preliminary research findings from a rare multi-state study of the complex relationships between training, practice and community needs. The research builds upon recent HRSA studies and state specific efforts with the goal of creating a framework for measurement and quality improvement across education and service systems. Key areas of exploration include current public health workforce structures, goals and expectations for future practice, and academic program offerings and practice linkages. The session will highlight early results from an innovative employee exit survey developed by the three-state research team. An analysis of public health academic program growth compared with training and research demands from the practice field highlights the need for enhanced mission alignment and illuminates opportunities for capacity building. Georgia's study in concert with those of New York and Florida begins to identify systemic challenges as well as clear opportunities for partnerships and infrastructure improvements to ensure that academic programs and the practice community are better aligned to keep the public healthy in the 21st century.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify key methods to collect and analyze data on current public health workforce and academic capacity as well as future demands. 2. Evaluate strengths and gaps related to workforce development in academic institutions and public health organizational settings. 3. Devise strategies to enhance academic-practice partnerships with the goal of promoting increased public health workforce capacity and stability.

Keywords: Workforce, Infrastructure

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Lead researcher on the project
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.