Recruitment and Retention Challenges and Successes in the Local Health Department Workforce

Year: 2011
Funding: NNPHI PHS2 Award
Status: Completed

Back to Grantee Profiles


This study will analyze the economic, political, and organizational issues affecting recruitment and retention by local health departments (LHDs) and identify effective strategies that help to address these challenges. The research team will answer the following research questions:  (1) What gaps exist in the LHD workforce?; (2) What recruitment and retention challenges do LHDs face?; (3) What factors are associated with the staffing levels of LHDs?; and (4) How are LHDs addressing recruitment and retention challenges, and what lessons can be shared from successful approaches to these challenges for the benefit of other communities? The team will analyze existing data from a variety of sources to provide a profile of the current public health workforce and will describe changes over time in LHDs, as well in other agencies of state and local government carrying out public health functions. The team will conduct a web-based survey of approximately 400 LHDs to understand the challenges facing LHDs, the factors associated with these challenges, and what strategies have been successful in addressing workforce gaps.  The team will research and develop a series of five to six case studies to highlight LHDs that have been successful recruiting, retaining, and developing workers in order to provide examples for other LHDs. Finally, the team will host a national event in order to highlight the challenges facing the public health workforce and propose strategies and approaches for strengthening the workforce.




Julie Darnell & Josh Franzel
Center for State and Local Government Excellence
University of Illinois at Chicago

Research Areas