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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Columbia: The New Public Health Workforce – Employment Outcomes of Public Health Graduate Students

Much has been written about the public health workforce, but very little research has been published — and none in a peer-reviewed journals or other reports since 1992 — regarding the employment outcomes and employment sectors of
graduate students pursuing public health as an area of study.

Columbia researchers reviewed the literature regarding the employment of public health graduates; analyzed 5 years of graduate outcomes from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health using logistic regression; and examined data collected by the Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health (ASPPH).

The study included data from surveys of 2904 graduates of the Mailman School, across five graduating cohort years. Much of the research on the public health workforce has defined it as governmental public health. However, across each of five graduating classes from the Mailman School, the odds of for-profit sector employment increased by 23 percent (2012-2016), while hiring by government agencies declined or remained flat.

Publicly available employment data from the websites of schools of public health and from surveys by ASPPH show that hiring of new graduates by for-profit corporations now either closely matches or exceeds governmental hiring at many schools of public health. Columbia researchers concluded that public health graduates are increasingly working outside of government. Schools and programs of public health should invest in their career services offices and gather input from employers that are currently hiring their graduates, especially as the sectors hiring them may be changing; and new efforts could be made to connect graduates with government employers.