Online Program

Analysis of Data Methods and Taxonomies Used to Assess the Public Health Workforce in the U.S

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 1:30 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.

Michael Meit, MA, MPH, Public Health Research, NORC at the University of Chicago, Bethesda, MD

Jessica O'Hara, M.P.P, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Washington, DC
The University of Michigan led the creation of the Public Health Workforce Taxonomy for Enumeration with support from CDC. The taxonomy consists of 12 axes, each focusing on a different category for describing public health workers. ASPE contracted with NORC to conduct a study to examine the utility of this taxonomy as a tool for enumerating the workforce. Methods include an environmental scan of public health enumeration efforts, qualitative data collection through three stakeholder focus groups, and an analysis of text responses for respondents indicating “Other” on taxonomy based questions in the Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey. Participants providing feedback on the taxonomy included HR and Workforce Development Directors and representatives from ASTHO affiliated organizations.

Overall, the taxonomy accurately describes the public health workforce; however, many participants provided specific recommendations regarding missing categories under each axis. Both HR Directors and affiliate representatives were open to incorporating the taxonomy into their current data systems, but identified that modifications were needed for adoption to be feasible. For example, participants indicated that staff would be difficult to categorize because workers fit into multiple categories due to overlapping job responsibilities. Respondents agreed that guidance (e.g., crosswalks or definitions) would be helpful and necessary to ensure consistency across health departments and organizations. This study has shown the potential of the taxonomy for harmonizing data collection efforts and for enumerating and describing the public health workforce. With some modifications and supplemental materials, the taxonomy could be an effective reference for future data collection, promoting consistency across the field.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the Public Health Workforce Taxonomy for Enumeration. Name 3 recommendations made by focus group participants regarding the Public Health Workforce Taxonomy for Enumeration.

Keyword(s): Workforce, Public Health Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have led a wide range of federally funded projects, including rural health, preparedness, and public health systems research. I have conducted studies for ASPE, CDC, the Administration for Children and Families, HRSA, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), among others. I previously served as Executive Director of the University of Pittsburgh‘s Center for Rural Health Practice and as Deputy Executive Director of NACCHO, and served in the HIV/AIDS Bureau of the Pennsylvania Department of 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.