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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

WashU: Health Departments Must Plan for Changing Workforce

State health departments are lagging in planning for the replacement of retiring employees, according to a survey from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

[Photo: Dr. Amy Eyler]

Researchers surveyed 571 chronic-disease practitioners who worked in state health departments across the United States. Questions were based on the five major domains of administrative evidence-based practices:  workforce development; leadership; organizational culture and climate; relationships and partnerships; and financial processes.

Less than 15 percent of respondents reported their department had a plan to replace upcoming retirees.  The survey also found areas for improvement in the quality of leadership; and in levels of collaboration with health plans and health systems within states.

“The diminishing ratio of public health workers and high percentages of those eligible for retirement are of concern to maintaining an effective public health system,” wrote the study’s lead author, Dr. Amy Eyler, associate professor at the Brown School.

The paper was published the January issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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