174701 Understanding attrition from local public health departments: Piloting a statewide system of tracking employee exits

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 11:00 AM

Jean M. Moore, RN, MPH , Center for Health Workforce Studies, University at Albany, Rensselaer, NY
Sandra L. McGinnis, PhD , Center for Health Workforce Studies, School of Public Health, University at Albany, SUNY, Rensselaer, NY
In July 2005, the New York State Public Health Workforce Task Force- including representatives from public health education programs in New York, state and local health departments, and health professional and advocacy organizations - was created to address public health workforce challenges in New York. The Task Force concluded that it was necessary to learn more about the size and composition of the public health workforce. In response, the Center for Health Workforce Studies completed a survey of employees in local health departments (LHDs) in New York to determine current workforce composition; measure extent of workforce needs; project future staffing needs; and identify unmet training needs.

The survey produced several important findings regarding attrition from local health departments in New York State. First, a very high percentage of older workers plan to retire in the near future. Second, a high percentage of younger workers also plan to leave the field of public health. Third, departure plans among younger workers are a much larger problem in smaller/more rural LHDs.

The causes of attrition among younger workers need to be better understood in order to create effective retention strategies. The Center for Health Workforce Studies will work in conjunction with partners in Florida and Georgia to create an employee exit survey that will allow us to answer important questions about the loss of younger employees. Results from the completed LHD enumeration and preliminary findings from the employee exit survey will be presented, and the implications for retention planning will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
·Identify key methods to collect and analyze data on departures from the public health workforce ·Apply these methods to the study of public health worker attrition in other states and/or settings ·Construct retention strategies that incorporate findings of public health worker exit surveys

Keywords: Workforce, Local Public Health Agencies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator
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.