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Enumeration of the Public Health Workforce Project - Year 1 Summary


This report was revised and published in September 2012. Click the "Download this File" link in the green box above to view the latest report.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) are pleased to announce a report on a collaborative effort to enumerate the public health workforce, Strategies for Enumerating the U.S. Governmental Public Health Workforce. This report was prepared by the Centers of Excellence in Public Health Workforce at the University of Michigan and the University of Kentucky. It describes the findings, results, and recommendations of the first phase of an ongoing effort. Click "Download this File" in the green box above to view the report.
Workforce enumeration is a critical foundation for identifying present as well as future workforce needs. Recognizing the need for current and timely public health workforce enumeration, CDC and HRSA have been collaborating to work towards determining the number and composition of the governmental public health workforce at the federal, state, and local levels in the United States. The goal is to establish public health workforce enumeration as a recurring activity, similar to ongoing disease surveillance systems. 
Phase 1 Accomplishments
The first phase of work in fiscal year 2011 focused on the methodology used during the last public health workforce enumeration to gain a better understanding of potential data sources. The last enumeration, conducted in 2000 by HRSA and Columbia University School of Nursing/Center for Health Policy, provided useful estimates of the composition of the workforce and its distribution across states and territories at that point in time.

Through a cooperative agreement with the Public Health Foundation, CDC and HRSA jointly funded the Centers of Excellence in Public Health Workforce at the University of Michigan and the University of Kentucky. Accomplishments included:

  • building consensus among stakeholders for developing an enumeration plan;
  • developing a case definition of the public health workforce that is focused on workers employed in local, state, and federal government agencies;
  • evaluating 15 distinct data sources from different workforce surveys, and assessing their usability for an enumeration and future surveillance-like system;
  • concluding that data from different sources, when used in conjunction, have the potential to provide the data necessary for counting and characterizing the public health workforce; and
  • providing recommendations for developing a sustainable, systematic, and replicable surveillance-like system for enumerating and characterizing the nation’s public health workforce on an ongoing basis.
Next Steps

In fiscal year 2012, work is focusing on:

  • establishing and implementing a common public health workforce taxonomy;
  • identifying specific methods for implementing additional or modified data collection with the help of national public health professional organizations, including the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and National Association of County and City Health Officials;
  • working with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to understand the characteristics of the data generated by BLS and defining strategies for how we can prospectively use the data for enumeration of public health workers;
  • obtaining estimates of the federal public health workforce with an initial focus on the CDC workforce;
  • acquiring estimates of laboratorians and environmental health professionals working in state and local public health settings; and
  • producing preliminary public health enumeration estimates.
For additional information about the Enumeration of the Public Health Workforce Project, contact:
Mehran S. Massoudi, PhD, MPH
CAPT, US Public Health Service
Associate Director for Science
Scientific Education and Professional Development Program Office
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Phone: 404-498-6169
Edward Salsberg, MPA
Director, National Center for Health Workforce Analysis
Bureau of Health Professions
Health Resources and Services Administration
Phone: 301-443-9355


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