The COVID-19 pandemic and its response have indelibly altered governmental public health departments in the United States, resulting in new ways of working, a changed culture, new needs and challenges for the workforce, and opportunity costs. At the same time, broader societal movements, including an increased nationwide focus on racism as a public health crisis, have led to a stronger drive for equity both in the public health profession and among the populations it serves.

The Journal of Public Health Management and Practice has published a special supplement with a collection of new analyses, actionable findings, and recommendations that address these and other themes. The articles are based on data from the 2021 Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey (PH WINS), a survey of nearly 45,000 employees across seniority levels conducted by the de Beaumont Foundation and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) between September 2021 and January 2022.

“The thoughtful analyses, real employee experiences, and systems-level recommendations in this supplement will help public health leaders make research-based decisions to improve their organizations and face the future,” said Brian C. Castrucci, DrPH, president and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation. “Understanding the workforce’s strengths and needs is essential to inform future investments in funding, training, recruitment, and retention.”

Previously conducted in 2014 and 2017, PH WINS is the only nationally representative survey of state and local government public health employees. It collects data on the demographics of the workforce and captures individual perspectives on key issues such as engagement and morale, training needs, and emerging concepts in public health. Preliminary survey findings released in March 2022 revealed high levels of stress, burnout, and intent to leave, and the full dataset was published as an interactive dashboard in August 2022.

Read the special supplement here.

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