203443 Obstacles, Challenges and Success in Defining and Measuring Epidemiology Capacity

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Jac Davies, MPH , Center for Public Health Informatics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Lisa D. Ferland, MPH , Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, Atlanta, GA
Maureen Y. Lichtveld, MD, MPH , School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Joan Cioffi, PhD, MPH , Office of Workforce and Career Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Matthew L. Boulton, MD, MPH , Office of Public Health Practice, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
Carol Gotway Crawford, PhD , Office of Workforce and Career Development, CDC, Atlanta, GA
Paul K. Halverson, DrPH, MHSA , Division of Health and College of Public Health, Arkansas DHHS and Univ. of AR for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR
CSTE has attempted to define characteristics of state epidemiology capacity through its ECA tool since 1997. A key component in epidemiology capacity is the quantity and quality (skill set) of the workforce performing this function. In a 2008 partnership meeting on public health workforce research, sponsored by the CDC, improving the quantitative definition of public health capacity emerged as an important area for further research and development. CSTE and CDC convened an Expert Panel comprised of epidemiologists, public health workforce development experts, public health leaders and economists to evaluate current capacity measurement methodologies and consider applying these to future ECA studies.

The expert panel reviewed capacity models from academia; developed a conceptual model of factors influencing epidemiology capacity and outputs; identified opportunities for improved factor definition and measurement. The expert panel will continue to work with CSTE on defining measurable units of performance for epidemiology which can be gathered through ECA.

The ability to measure epidemiology capacity and identify potential gaps associated with health outcomes is imperative for public health to increase efficacy.

Future activities for the DEC include: developing a more quantifiable model, defining a measurable service unit of performance for epidemiology, and drawing connections between epidemiology capacity and health outcomes. The discussion of the work already completed and next steps will enhance the audience's knowledge capacity tools, strategies for quantifying epidemiology capacity and understanding the challenges that face this type of effort.

Learning Objectives:
Formulate strategies, resources and tools for quality improvement of epidemiology workforce. Evaluate the current models regarding capacity measurement. Discuss the importance of quantifying sufficient epidemiology capacity at the local, state and national levels.

Keywords: Epidemiology, Workforce

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: CSTE National Office Epidemiologist staff assigned to epidemiology workforce. Also lead of the 2009 CSTE Epidemiology Capacity Assessment which was directly affected by the work completed by the DEC 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.