208075 Shaping policy for health: What competencies do we need?

Monday, November 9, 2009: 5:00 PM

Carolyn E. Crump, PhD , Health Behavior and Health Education, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
James Emery, MPH , Health Behavior and Health Education, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
Rose Marie Matulionis, MSPH , Directors of Health Promotion and Education, Washington, DC
Donna Nichols, MSEd, CHES , Directors of Health Promotion and Education, Washington, DC
Introduction: This project identified and validated workforce competencies needed by public health professionals to shape policy for health.

Methods: Secondary and primary data collection helped identify competencies which were vetted through telephone interviews with 101 public health professionals. Validation proceeded using cross-sectional surveys (n=528) using two samples: prior interviewees (n=91 reachable; response 86%) and organizational contacts (n=9,729; response 6%). For each competency, participants reported Likert-scale importance, frequency of use, and current and needed proficiency.

Results: The final list of 21 competencies are grouped in five domains: 1) problem identification; 2) policy analysis; 3) advocacy; 4) bureaucratic implementation; and 5) evaluation. Each domain exhibited strong internal consistency ( = .73 to .93). More respondents reported experience with public policy (81%) and organizational policy (79%) than systems (68%) or built environments (66%). Perceived importance was high (mean=79%). Skill gaps were reported in each domain: 1) problem identification 63%; 2) policy analysis 64%; 3) advocacy 66%; 4) bureaucratic implementation 66%; and 5) evaluation 72%. Many respondents expressed interest in training and using the competencies to hire, train and evaluate staff. The list of competencies can be downloaded: www.dhpe.org/HPEC_Comps_Phase_Final.pdf.

Conclusion: Most competencies are important to 80% of respondents, regardless of how regularly applied on the job. Importance ratings of some domains reinforce research identifying why policy implementation fails. Training is needed and wanted by staff to shape policy for health. The competencies are being used to develop a trans-disciplinary training curricula.

Learning Objectives:
Identify core competencies needed for changing policies, environments and systems. Describe several applications for the competencies in public health workforce settings. Describe respondent ratings of importance and frequency for competencies needed to change policies, environments and systems (PES). Describe how a gap in competency proficiency can be used to assess the need for training.

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Workforce

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Carolyn Crump, PhD is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She has over 25 years of experience working with organizations and community-based groups to address health promotion and injury prevention related concerns. Dr. Crump has expertise in strategic planning and community-based efforts to promote physical activity through policy and environmental change and preventing injury especially among Native American populations. She has conducted large research and evaluation projects for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, North Carolina Dept. of Public Health, the Indian Health Service, and AARP. Dr. Crump is currently helping develop competencies and curriculum for training the public health workforce on policy, environmental and systems-change solutions for public health problems. Dr. Crump has designed over 30 workshops and retreats that have used adult learning principles to successfully reach the target audience. She has taught graduate courses in Program Planning and Evaluation and Program Management, two of the required courses for the MPH students in the Department of HBHE.
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.