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Advancing the public health workforce to achieve organizational excellence
Performance Improvement Professionals Identify High Priority Areas for Workforce Development

Date: 7/18/2019 11:32 AM

Related Categories: Performance Management, Quality Improvement, TRAIN, Workforce Development

Topic: Conferences and Events, Performance Management and Quality Improvement, TRAIN, Workforce Development

Tag: Accreditation, Community Health Assessment, Community Health Improvement Plan, Competencies, Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals, Email Newsletter Content, Performance Improvement, Performance Improvement Competencies, Performance Management, PHF E-News, Quality Improvement, TRAIN, Training, Workforce Development

Author: Kathleen Amos

Kathleen Amos, MLIS, Assistant Director, Academic/Practice Linkages, Public Health Foundation
Nearly 70 performance improvement (PI) professionals working in health departments and other public health organizations across the country came together last month to discuss and identify high priority areas for workforce development for PI professionals. During an interactive session led by the Public Health Foundation (PHF) at the Public Health Improvement Training held June 12-13, 2019 in New Orleans, LA, PI professionals explored priorities, strategies, and needed resources for strengthening the PI workforce.
Using the Competencies for Performance Improvement Professionals in Public Health (PI Competencies), which are designed specifically to support the PI workforce within public health, session participants shared their perspectives on the most immediate needs in terms of building PI Competencies among public health PI professionals – those individuals whose job responsibilities involve quality improvement, performance management, workforce development, accreditation readiness, or community health assessment and improvement planning activities. The PI Competencies reflect a set of knowledge and skills for success in PI, and can be used along with the Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals to guide workforce development for PI professionals.
What areas within the PI Competencies were seen as high need for skill development? Session participants identified their top three priorities as:
  • Collaborating with others internal and external to the organization (e.g., relationships with HR office, partnerships with health systems) in developing, implementing, and evaluating activities to improve individual, program, and organizational performance (PI Competency #12)
  • Integrating quality improvement methods into organizational policies, plans, programs, and services (PI Competency #8)
  • Advocating for the use of quality improvement, performance management, and workforce development methods, tools, and practices throughout the organization (e.g., creating organization buy-in, overcoming resistance, communicating value, developing a culture of quality, supporting a culture of learning, encouraging innovation) (PI Competency #19)
Further discussion focused on strategies and needed resources for building these skills, including:
  • Standardizing what is seen as PI so we are all moving in the same direction
  • Generating buy-in from leaders, including health officials, about the importance of PI and workforce development for PI professionals
  • Entrenching QI in the day-to-day experience of working in public health
  • Ensuring that there are common competencies across different roles within an organization and an internal body of knowledge and access to a training library that will help build those competencies
  • Developing a PI curriculum and offering continuous training in PI
  • Enhancing skills of “leading up” from what may not be viewed as leadership positions
PHF is currently working on resources to enhance access to training that builds the knowledge and skills described in the PI Competencies through the development of tailored course searches for the TRAIN Learning Network. The TRAIN Learning Network contains thousands of courses relevant for public health professionals, and we are developing tailored searches that will retrieve courses aligned with PI Competencies. Stay tuned for additional information about that in the near future!
And, as always, please let us know what you think. Do you agree with the priority areas identified? Are there other areas you would emphasize? Do you know of any resources to meet these needs or are there other strategies or types of resources you think would be helpful? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below or by email to and help further this critical conversation.



Update July 29, 2019: The tailored course searches for the TRAIN Learning Network are now available to help in finding training opportunities related to select PI Competencies. Visit the Tailored Searches for Performance Improvement Training webpage to access the searches and learn more.


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