Context: Workforce surveillance efforts have long been called for in public health: the Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey (PH WINS) answers that call.
Objective: To characterize the state of the governmental public health workforce among State Health Agency-Central Office (SHA-CO) staff across the United States.
Design: The SHA leadership were contacted and invited to have their agency participate in PH WINS 2017 as a census-based fielding. Participating agencies provided staff lists, and staff were then directly invited by e-mail to participate in a Web-based survey. Pearson and Rao-Scott χ2 analyses are employed in descriptive analyses. Balanced repeated replication weights account for design and nonresponse.
Setting and Participants: SHA-CO staff.
Main Outcome Measures: The PH WINS focuses on 4 primary domains: perceptions of workplace environment and job satisfaction, training needs, national trends, and demographics. In addition, measures of intent to leave and employee burnout are analyzed.
Results: The state governmental public health workforce is primarily female (72%), non-Hispanic white (64%), and 46 years of age or older (59%). Nearly one-third (31%) of the workforce is older than 55 years, with 9% aged 30 years or younger. Overall, 74% of respondents indicated that they had at least a bachelor’s degree, and 19% indicated having a public health degree of some kind. Seventy-nine percent of the respondents indicated that they were somewhat/very satisfied with their jobs. Approximately 47% of SHA-CO staff say that they are considering leaving or are planning to retire. With respect to training needs, the largest overall gaps for the state health agency workforce were observed in budget and financial management, systems and strategic thinking, and developing a vision for a healthy community.
Conclusions: PH WINS represents the first nationally representative survey of governmental public health staff in the United States. It holds potential for wide usage from novel workforce research to identifying and helping address practice-based needs.