179968 Oregon public health workers' participation in national and state public health organizations: Are public health organizations understood and valued anymore?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Brenna M. Lobb, MS , Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
James A. Gaudino, MD, MS, MPH , Health Services-Immunization Program, Department of Human Services, State of Oregon, Portland, OR
Siobhan C. Maty , School of Community Health, Portland State University, Portland, OR
While demographic and health patterns of Oregon rapidly change, little is known about the public health (PH) workforce and the organizations serving their needs. In 2007, we surveyed known PH workers and students through e-mail and listservs. The majority of the respondents (n = 687) were female (74.3%), Caucasian (87.6%), Non-Latino/Hispanic (93.2%). 60.7% reported having earned a Masters degree or higher. Of those having Masters degrees, 26.2% reported having Masters of PH. Only 19.5% of respondents were current members of the Oregon Public Health Association (OPHA) and 66.2% were never members. Likewise, only 19.7% were members of the American Public Health Association (APHA). Only 9.2% of all respondents were members of both organizations. Being unable to see a clear benefit in membership was the main reason for OPHA non-membership among both non-student (40.2%) and student (66.7%) former members. Whereas, 39.2% of non-students and 41.4% of students who were never OPHA members reported that they did not know enough about the organization. The top three OPHA activities supported by both non-student and student members of OPHA were advocacy/policy work, leadership on PH issues, and assisting PH students. Non-student PH workers prioritized the top three activities that OPHA should be engaged in as: leadership of PH issues, advocacy/policy work, and educational programs. Having little voice on policy and program decisions themselves, Oregon PH workers expect OPHA to have that voice by creating and promoting a sustainable, recognizable identity and focusing on advocacy/policy work and leadership building in the future.

Learning Objectives:
Describe Oregon public health (PH) workforce participation in national and state PH organizations. Describe the challenges facing membership organizations serving PH workers. Characterize differences between former and never members of OPHA. Discuss ideas to improve services by and participation in PH organizations.

Keywords: Organizational Change, Public Health Agency Roles

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked under the supervison of Dr. James Gaudino and Dr. Siobhan Maty on the abstract project. I am currently a student and worked on this project for an internship.
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.