Health News

New study provides comprehensive overview of US public health workforce

united states map

  • The public health workforce has gotten substantially smaller since the 1970s, a decline that has worsened since the Great Recession, which saw a loss of more than 40,000 public health staff positions in state and local government.
  • Recruitment, diversity and retention continue to be key barriers to building the public health workforce.
  • COVID-19 has also taken a toll on the workforce, with high reported rates of burnout and symptoms of PTSD among public health employees.
  • Tracking the composition and the total number of people in the public health workforce remains a challenge because the federal government lacks a system for cataloging public health staff at the federal, state and local level.
  • Enrollments in public health degree programs are rising, but few graduates choose government public health employment, opting instead for private sector jobs.

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