Context: Policy development is recognized as a core function of public health and a core competency in formal public health education. However, relatively little is known nationally about worker perceptions and competencies related to policy development in the governmental public health workforce. Objective: To characterize perceived importance and presence or absence of competency gaps related to policy development. Design: As part of the Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey (PH WINS), a nationally representative stratified sample of permanently employed state health agency (SHA) central office staff was created. Descriptive and inferential analyses examined correlates of perceived importance and competency gaps related to policy development. Setting and Participants: Permanently employed central office employees of SHAs. Main Outcome Measure: Analyses focus on 2 self-reported measures of perceived importance and ability related to policy development skills, as well as awareness and perceptions regarding Health in All Policies (HiAP). Results: Seventy-two percent of SHA central office staff (95% confidence interval, 71-73) indicated "influencing policy development" was somewhat or very important to their day-to-day work. Among that group, 35% (95% confidence interval, 34-36) reported that they were unable to perform this or they considered themselves to be a beginner at this skill. Approximately three-fourths of staff indicated "understanding the relationship between a new policy and many types of public health problems" was somewhat or very important, and 30% of those who did said they were unable to perform this skill or were a beginner at it. Nationally, one-half of staff have not heard of HiAP. Among those who have, 86% indicated it was somewhat or very important to public health, and 41% reported they would like to see more emphasis on HiAP. Conclusions: Workforce development, both formal education and on-the-job training, may benefit from placing a greater emphasis on the development of policy skills. HiAP is an important approach to policy development.
- Policy development
- Policy needs
- Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey (PH WINS)
- Training needs
- Workforce development