236188 Layoffs, Furloughs and Public Health: A 2010 Assessment of the Epidemiology Workforce

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 1:25 PM

Lisa D. Ferland, MPH , Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, Atlanta, GA
Monica Huang, MPH , Epidemiology, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, Atlanta, GA
Hai Au Tran, MPH , Epidemiology, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, Atlanta, GA
James Hadler, MD , CSTE Consultant, New Haven, CT
The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) routinely assesses the epidemiology workforce in state health departments. In November-December 2010, CSTE conducted an electronic assessment to enumerate the number of epidemiologists currently employed at state and local levels. The assessment also captured data on the budget-cutting activities in place since the current fiscal crisis began in September 2008.

Eighty-six percent of states reported being affected by at least one budget-cutting activity. Thirty -nine states (76%) experienced travel restrictions, 59% reported elimination of vacant state-funded positions, 69% reported hiring freezes on state-funded vacant positions and 41% reported furloughs of some nature. Fifty-three percent of states reported experiencing both a state hiring freeze and elimination of vacant state positions simultaneously. Thirty-eight percent of states reported experiencing both furloughs and salary freezes as a means for budget reduction.

Despite these activities, the number of epidemiologists employed at the state level did not further decline between the enumeration in April-June 2009 and this enumeration. This may be in large part due to the support from federal stimulus funding, which enabled many states to maintain epidemiologist staffing levels and avoid layoffs.

With widespread hiring freezes and elimination of vacant positions coupled with early retirement incentives, many states are moving toward a smaller core group of state-funded epidemiologists. With most state-based epidemiologists being supported with federal funding, the threat of deep federal budget cuts and the end of the initial two-year federal stimulus funding, the potential for a sharp drop in state epidemiology capacity looms.

Learning Areas:

Learning Objectives:
Enumerate the epidemiology workforce using trend analysis from 2004-2010 Describe the current fiscal pressures on the epidemiology workforce

Keywords: Epidemiology, Workforce

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I participated in the quality control, primary analysis and development of the poster presentation
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.