Context: More than 80% of Americans live in urban areas. Over the past 20 years, an increasing number of local governmental public health departments, particularly those in big cities, have taken pioneering action to improve population health. This article focuses on members of the Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) who participated in the 2017 Public Health Workforce Interest and Needs Survey (PH WINS). If the impact of these health departments is to be sustained, they will require a workforce prepared for the challenges of 21st-century public health practice. Objective: To characterize workforce interests and needs among staff in 26 large, urban health departments who are BCHC members. Design: Administered PH WINS survey to staff in BCHC member health departments to assess perceptions about the workplace environment and job satisfaction; training needs; awareness of national trends; and demographics. Setting: In total, 26 of 30 BCHC member health departments, United States. Participants: In total, 7453 of 17 613 staff members (response rate 43.4%) from participating departments. Results: The workforce consists predominantly of women (75%) and people of color (68%). Staff is satisfied with their job (81%), the organization (71%), and pay (59%), but more than a quarter are considering leaving within the year. The agency's mission drives staff, but it lacks an environment fostering creativity and innovation. Training needs include budgeting/financial management, change management, and strategic thinking. Conclusions: BCHC departments must improve retention, provide opportunities for advancement, enhance communication between leadership and staff, foster creativity and innovation, and align labor allocation with disease burden in local communities. Findings from the second iteration of PH WINS allow a comprehensive, comparable analysis of the workforce across the 26 BCHC member health departments that participated. These data expand upon the ability to assess and monitor improvement in the workforce environment, job satisfaction, awareness of national trends, and training needs.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
PH WINS was carried out with funding from the de Beaumont Foundation, largely through a grant to ASTHO. That grant also supported staff time at NACCHO to work with BCHC member local health departments on their participation in this survey. Dr Leider was a contractor to ASTHO for the project.
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- local health departments
- public health workforce