Online Program

Adapting a self-assessment tool to identify workforce development needs at a local health department

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Jamie A. Sokol, MPH, Bureau of Administration, Allegheny County Health Department, Pittsburgh, PA
Melissa D. Morris, MPH, Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh
Karen Hacker, MD, MPH, Allegheny County Health Department, Pittsburgh, PA
Introduction. Maintaining a skilled and qualified workforce is vital to the delivery of effective and relevant public health programs. The Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals are designed to be a starting point for agencies as they identify workforce development needs and implement a training plan. Divided into eight domains that span public health practice, the competencies serve as mechanisms to deliver the Ten Essential Services of Public Health.  To support accreditation efforts, the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) adapted a self-assessment tool from the Public Health Foundation (PHF) to identify workforce training needs.  This tool, while exhaustive and specific, needed to be modified to meet the assessment needs of ACHD.

Methods. The PHF self-assessment tool was adapted through an iterative process to better capture ACHD’s mission and services. Questions were re-worded to be more relevant to job functions; however, the key components of each competency were still addressed in order to meet accreditation requirements. Survey language remained consistent with that of accreditation standards. The tool was also adapted to suit the degree of training and experience of ACHD employees.

Results and discussion. Restructuring the survey streamlined the assessment process. On average, the number of questions per competency was reduced by 61 percent, minimizing the impact on day-to-day health department operations. The adapted self-assessment tool accurately reflected ACHD's services across all bureaus and programs, and remained consistent with its structure and mission. This process demonstrates the importance of utilizing best practices to minimize costs and maintain sustainability. When conducting workforce training needs assessments, existing tools can be modified for participants to ensure that the data collected is meaningful and appropriate.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe three ways that local public health agencies can adapt competency-based, self-assessment tools to identify public health workforce training needs. Explain how utilizing competency-based workforce assessment tools can support public health accreditation. Describe why public health workforce assessment tools should accurately reflect an agency's mission and services.

Keyword(s): Workforce Development, Accreditation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over seven years of experience in public health program planning, implementation, and evaluation. In my current role, I oversee workforce development and training initiatives at the Allegheny County Health Department. I am also actively involved in our agency's accreditation activities and serve as a member of our internal accreditation team.
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.