A collaborative study including Dr. Gulzar Shah, associate dean for research at the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University study examines changes in the public health workforce composition. State and local public health department infrastructure in the U.S. was impacted by the 2008 economic recession. The nature and impact of these staffing changes have not been well characterized, especially for the part-time public health workforce. The purpose of the study was to estimate the number of part-time workers in state and local health departments (LHDs) and examine the correlates of change in the part-time LHD workforce between 2008 and 2013.
Nationally representative estimates suggest that the local public health workforce decreased from 191,000 to 168,000 between 2008 and 2013. During that period, the part-time workforce decreased from 25 percent to 20 percent of those totals. At the state level, part-time workers accounted for less than 10 percent of the total workforce among responding states in 2013. Smaller and multi-county jurisdictions employed relatively more part-time workers.This is the first study to create national estimates regarding the size of the part-time public health workforce and estimate those changes over time. A relatively small proportion of the public health workforce is part-time and may be decreasing.