A $4.7 million collaborative agreement from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allows six universities to form a consortium to address public health challenges by conducting workforce research, assessment, and analysis.
The Consortium for Workforce Research in Public Health (CWORPH) includes the University of Minnesota, Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, Indiana University, the University of Washington, and East Tennessee State University.
The consortium’s founders note that the public health infrastructure in the United States has lost up to 20 percent of its practitioners since 2008. An already underfunded and understaffed system has been overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, presenting a serious need to increase workforce capacity. for current and future emergencies.
Led by the Center for Public Health Systems at the U of M School of Public Health (SPH), CWORPH’s research will look at the factors that drive employee turnover, ways to recruit and retain employees and how to close workforce gaps.
“Our country urgently needs a larger and more stable public health workforce, equipped with the tools to meet contemporary challenges and threats,” said Interim Dean of SPH Timothy Beebe, in a statement. “We are excited about this new consortium and honored to leverage the expertise of this school with that of our university partners to enhance public health capabilities.”
Each of the union’s six members has a deep and longstanding commitment to the public health mission and sustainable development of the workforce including increasing the number of diverse employees who are representative of the communities they serve; prioritize employee retention; Maintain effective workforce systems and processes; Developing capacities to implement public health developments.
On the ground with its practice-oriented partners, the Federation’s work will include research to better understand the needs of the public health workforce; collect and analyze large-scale survey data; economic analysis to understand resource allocation options; and health equity research with a focus on the needs of racial and ethnic minorities and rural communities.
“With funding from HRSA and CDC, and with the support of our partners, this feels like the first time in a while that we’ve been able to say that all parts of the public health workforce matter — including rigorous, practice-oriented research,” said JB Leader, project lead. and director of the Center for Public Health Systems at SPH, in a statement.
In a blog post on the website for direct jphmp, Companion site for Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, CWORPH leaders note that although there are many health workforce research centers in the country – for example, for behavioral and allied health – there has not yet been one for public health.
“When we heard about this opportunity, we knew that a consortium model was the only way to deal with the challenge. This included bringing together other universities and colleges, but we also knew it had to be the public health community that would guide us in determining where the needs are,” they wrote. “So, we decided that it also meant having a partner who could advise us and help set an agenda relevant to the field with practice and equity at the forefront, which is why the National Association for Public Health Workforce Development is our advisory body.”
They also announced their list of technical and publishing partners:
• Association of Schools and Public Health Programs (ASPPH)
• Association of State and Territory Health Officials (ASTHO)
• Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC)
• De Beaumont Foundation (dBF)
• MissionSquare Research Institute
• National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
• Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB)
• Public Health Training Centers (PHTCs)