In recent years, the public health workforce has faced immense challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven how the health of the public is deeply connected to our economy, education system, social support systems, and much more. In combination with the protests against systemic racism during the summer of 2020, the pandemic has made abundantly clear that we will never achieve health equity without racial equity. Now more than ever, the public health workforce requires skills that span public health disciplines and leverage strong partnerships with other sectors.

Adapting and Aligning Public Health Strategic Skills

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Since the National Consortium for Public Health Workforce Development released the Strategic Skills in 2017, the public health field and its work have evolved. Because the public health field needs a shared understanding of what its workforce must know and do, the report Adapting and Aligning Public Health Strategic Skills presents refreshed definitions for the Strategic Skills and a crosswalk of the new definitions with the field’s Core Competencies.

To address new challenges and changing priorities, the de Beaumont Foundation has worked to align the Strategic Skills with widely used public health assessments and competency sets. The renewed Strategic Skills address the new challenges and the constantly shifting focus of the workforce. Using the Strategic Skills framework as a basis for workforce development, all public health professionals working to advance the 10 Essential Public Health Services and Foundational Public Health Services, regardless of discipline, focus area, or supervisory level, can learn to think strategically and systematically, manage change and resources, communicate effectively, create action from data, engage with the communities they serve, influence policy, form cross-sector partnerships, and strive for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

The public health system must drive change by prioritizing the Strategic Skills in workforce development, taking actionable steps to adopt the Strategic Skills framework throughout the field, and building on the achievements that have already been made. Together, we can foster a strong and strategic public health workforce that achieves the best possible health for all.

New Strategic Skills definitions:

Additional Resources

Source: de Beaumont Foundation. “Adapting and Aligning Public Health Strategic Skills,”. March 2021.

Source: de Beaumont Foundation. “Adapting and Aligning Public Health Strategic Skills,”. March 2021.









Building Skills for a More Strategic Health Workforce, 2017

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State and local governmental public health agencies have long played a critical role in improving the nation’s health, but need to continually adapt in order to lead their communities. Changes within public health agencies (such as  job losses, turnover, advancing technology, and changing patterns of disease) and in the broader economic, health care, and policy environments are converging to reshape the role of governmental public health. These changes reinforce the need for a strong public health workforce that can be strategic and work across sectors to address the social and economic factors that drive health. In 2017, the de Beaumont Foundation published Building Skills for a More Strategic Public Health Workforce: Call to Action, which offers guidance on strategic, system-wide approaches to public health workforce development at the federal, state, and local levels. This new report, Adapting and Aligning Public Health Strategic Skills is an updated version of the 2017 report.

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