Public health practice is information-intensive and information-driven. Public health informatics is a nascent discipline, and most public health practitioners lack necessary skills in this area.
[Photo: Dr. Gulzar Shah]
The 2015 Informatics capacity and Needs Assessment Survey was conducted by Dr. Gulzar Shah, associate dean for research at Georgia Southern University Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Healthh, on behalf of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). This study describes the informatics activities performed by and for local health departments.
Areas of workforce development and improvement in informatics staff of LHDs included using and interpreting quantitative data, designing and running reports from information systems, using and interpreting qualitative data, using statistical or other analytical software, project management, and using geographical information systems. Significant variation in informatics training needs exists depending on the size of the LHD population and governance type.
In conclusion, substantial training needs exist for LHDs across many areas of informatics ranging from very basic to specialized skills and are related to the size of LHD population and governance type.
The study titled “Public Health Staff Development Needs in Informatics: Findings From a National Survey of Local Health Departments,” was published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.
Dr. Kelley Chester, alumni and Dr. Gulzar Shah, associate dean for research at Georgia Southern was one of the co-authors.