Online Program

Bringing Voice to Communities through Convenings

Monday, November 4, 2013

Brian Castrucci, MA, deBeaumont Foundation, Bethesda, MD
Katie Sellers, DrPH, CPH, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Arlington, VA
The public health community is defined by common interests and purpose rather than geography. However, categorical public health funding drives the public health community into silos leading to inefficiency and duplication. The siloed nature of the public health community poses a significant challenge to workforce development. Specifically, attention to these silos often takes precedence over the communal needs of the public health workforce. In an environment of growing demands and diminishing resources, workforce development efforts need to focus on trainings that will have the most impact for the most people. It is within this context that the de Beaumont Foundation, in partnership with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), sought to identify the cross-cutting public health training needs that would be valued across the existing public health silos.

To answer this question and develop a training agenda for the public health workforce, the de Beaumont Foundation and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) convened 31 national public health leadership groups to collectively assess the priorities, needs, and characteristics of the governmental public health workforce. While each group represented one of public health's workforce silos, through this convening, we were able to represent the public health workforce as a whole.

Participants were challenges to look beyond their individual priorities and think about universal public health workforce needs. Twenty-six workforce training needs were identified through pre-meeting interviews; from this list, systems thinking, communicating persuasively, and change management/flexibility were identified as top priorities during the meeting.

Reaching agreement around these critical priorities sets a clear agenda to create trainings and tools for a stronger public health workforce. The workforce needs identified have the potential to benefit all governmental public health workers regardless of their position within an organization or specific area of expertise. By giving voice to this community, those interested in developing workforce trainings have a clear set of priorities that have been endorsed by a diverse set of public health leaders. This process demonstrates how philanthropy can help to catalyze change by convening community members to address specific questions of common interest.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the role of convening as a way to give voice to issues Understand broader definitions of community than geographic definitions Describe how results from community convenings can be positioned to drive policy and program change

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in public health for more than a decade. In my current role, I am a senior leader in a philanthropic organization committed to public health. I have conceived of the projects to be reported during the 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.