Staffing Up State and Local Health Departments

Public health is the foundation of American communities. But for years, state and local health departments have been underfunded and understaffed, creating critical gaps in our public health infrastructure. In fact, in the last decade alone, state and local health departments have lost 15% of their essential staff, hindering their ability to address community health challenges and be prepared for emergencies.

A new research brief from the de Beaumont Foundation and the Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI), a division of the Public Health Accreditation Board, provides a first-of-its-kind research-based estimate showing that we need nearly 80% more full-time equivalent positions (FTEs) to provide a minimum package of public health services. Director Bianca Frogner served on the Research Advisory Committee for this report. To learn more about the report and action needed, visit this link.

In the upcoming year, Dr. Davis Patterson will be leading a study through the UW CHWS Health Workforce Research Center on Allied Health funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration examining how the pandemic has exacerbated public health staffing issues in local health departments.