New public health challenges require public health providers to continuously build their competence and capacity. Various organizations have initiated programs involving not only public health workforce training but also ongoing assessments of training needs and gaps in skills. A weakness of these assessments is that they focus on aggregate needs of large geographic areas and for all public health professionals regardless of their disciplines or skills. To address this weakness, Dr. Brandon Grimm and colleagues from the University of Nebraska Medical Center School of Public Health conducted a study that is published in the current issue of Public Health Reports, titled “Creating customized workforce development plans for medium-to-large public health departments.”
Dr. Grimm and colleagues showed that Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) as a department had training needs in only two competency domains: financial planning and management and policy development and program planning. The Health Promotion and Outreach division had training needs in all eight domains. Of the 57 skills, 41 were identified by at least one of the LLCHD divisions as having training needs. In 24 instances, a division did not qualify as having training needs in the overall domain yet did have training needs for specific skills within a domain.
The authors conclude, “When performing public health workforce assessments, medium-to-large public health departments can obtain detailed workforce training needs results that pertain to individual skills and that are tailored to each of their divisions. These results may help customize and improve workforce development plans, ensuring that the workforce has the necessary skills to do its job.”Friday Letter Submission, Publish on August 23