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National Survey of Training Needs Reported by Public Health Professionals in Chronic Disease Programs in State, Territorial, and Local Governments

Wilcox, Lynne S. MD, MPH; Majestic, Elizabeth A. MS, MPH; Ayele, Missale JD, MPH; Strasser, Sheryl PhD; Weaver, Scott R. PhD

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice: September/October 2014 - Volume 20 - Issue 5 - p 481–489
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3182a7bdcf
Original Articles

Context: In 2009, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors published desirable competencies for professionals in public health chronic disease programs. Assessing the training needs of these professionals is an important step toward providing appropriate training programs in chronic disease prevention and control competencies.

Objectives: Conduct a survey of the chronic disease workforce in state and local health departments to identify professional training needs.

Design: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of state, territorial, and local public health professionals who work in chronic disease programs to identify their self-reported training needs, using the membership lists of 3 professional organizations that included practitioners in chronic disease public health programs.

Setting: The survey was national, used a convenience sample, and was conducted in 2011.

Participants: The survey was developed using an algorithm to select anonymous participants from the membership lists of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, the Directors for Health Promotion and Education, and the National Association of County & City Health Officials.

Outcome Measures: The survey included questions about professional background, chronic disease activities, confidence about skills, and needs for training.

Results: The survey had 567 responses (38% response ratio). The majority of the respondents were female, non-Hispanic white, and 40 years or older. Respondents were not confident of their skills in health economics (38%) and technology and data management (23%). The most requested training topics were assessing the effects of policies, laws, and regulations (70%) and health economics (66%).

Conclusions: This survey included local, territorial, and state public health professionals who work in chronic disease programs. These reported training needs in quantitative measurement methods and policy-related topics suggest key subjects for future training and education curricula.

The article describes a cross-sectional survey of state, territorial, and local public health professionals working in chronic disease programs to identify their self-reported training needs. Quantitative measurement methods and policy-related topics are key subjects for future training and education curricula.

School of Public Health, Georgia State University (Drs Ayele, Strasser, Weaver, and Wilcox), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (Ms Majestic), Atlanta, Georgia.

Correspondence: Lynne S. Wilcox, MD, MPH, School of Public Health, Georgia State University, PO Box 3995, Atlanta, GA 30302 (lswilcox@lynneswilcox.com).

This study was supported by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors in Atlanta, Georgia and partially supported by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under award number 1P20MD004806. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. In addition to the National Association of Disease Directors, the authors thank the Directors of Health Promotion and Education and the National Association of County & City Health Officials, who contributed their membership lists and reviewed drafts of the survey. The authors also thank Helen Leis, Olivia Chan, and Michael Lovdal at Oliver-Wyman, who conducted the study in the field and provided analysis of the data.

The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or Georgia State University.

None of the authors report conflicts of interest.

© 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.