250391 Untapped resource in public health: Technical & support staff - using a systems model to increase workforce capacity

Monday, October 31, 2011

John C. Williams, DrPH; MBA; , Department of Health Services Management, University of Kentucky - College of Public Health, Lexington, KY
Limited research on the particular workforce needs of rural public health departments has been conducted. Working with the Kentucky Department of Public Health, this author conducted an original study of the emergency preparedness readiness of all workgroups within Kentucky's rural public health departments. In a follow-up study, the author examined an overlooked segment of the public health workforce – the Technical and Support Workgroup, which makes up almost half of the staff in each rural health department. This project had two goals: 1) to enumerate this workgroup; and 2) to examine training preferences and motivational levels related to emergency preparedness training of this workgroup in an effort to increase the rural local health department's capacity to meet readiness needs. Initial research findings support earlier studies that debate the readiness of rural public health workers to respond to emergency situations. In follow up research on the technical and support staff, results revealed that the percent of workers who were Not Confident in their ability to meet the emergency preparedness competencies ranged from 29 – 80 percent with the median being 62%.

This author's new goal is to increase the agency's existing capacity to deliver the core functions and essential public health services to its community in a more effective, efficient, and equitable manner. To do this, the author intends to conduct a 3-year intervention research study to develop a conceptual framework and training modules that local health officials can use to train its technical & support staff and evaluate training program effectiveness.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Program planning
Public health administration or related administration
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify current issues related to public health workforce capacity and emergency preparedness at the local level. 2. Recognize the components of the systems thinking conceptual model that can be used to increase the local public health agency’s capacity to carry out the core functions and essential public health services, including emergency preparedness.

Keywords: Workforce, Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author on the content I am responsible for because my terminal degree and research expertise is focused on this area of public health.
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.