Maintaining a Competent Public Health Workforce: Lessons Learned From Experiences With Public Health Accreditation Domain 8 Standards and Measures
Public health accreditation is an ongoing national movement to improve the quality of public health departments and the public health system in the United States; however, calls have been made for more evidence regarding best practices in the accreditation process.Objective:
The purpose of this work is to provide evidence about best practices in the accreditation process, specifically within the workforce development domain. It is the first in-depth investigation into workforce development using data collected by Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB).Design:
Using deidentified accreditation application data from PHAB, this study employs a mixed-methods approach to examining practices, lessons learned, challenges, and strategies pertaining to workforce development planning for Domain 8.Setting:
US state (n = 19) and local health departments (n = 115).Main Outcome Measures:
Public Health Accreditation Board assessment scores for the workforce measures and the relationship between the health department's approach to meeting a PHAB measure criteria and the PHAB assessment score.Results:
Of the 9 different approaches identified as ways of encouraging the development of a sufficient number of qualified public health workers (version 1, measure 8.1.1), only 1 approach (local health department internship programs with schools of public health; B = 0.25, P < .03) was significantly related to higher scores. An opportunity for improvement identified for measure 8.2.1 was that plans missing a clear identification of the gap between current staff competencies and staff needs were associated with a 0.88-point decrease in the 4-point score (P < .001).Conclusions:
Findings suggest that there are approaches adopted for meeting PHAB domain 8 measures that will impact the overall conformance assessment and score of a health department pursuing accreditation. There are several opportunities for improvement that health departments might consider when planning for accreditation or assessing their activities.