RealNews

Public Health Workforce Shortage Could Jeopardize Terrorism Preparedness

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) released a report today which indicates that there is an escalating shortage of qualified public health workers in the United States. The shortage will adversely affect the capacity of state and local public health departments to respond to terrorist events, emerging infectious diseases, and other public health threats and emergencies. The report, “State Public Health Employee Worker Shortage Report: A Civil Service Recruitment and Retention Crisis,” was based on a 2003 survey of senior state and territorial health officials conducted by ASTHO with the Council of State Governments and the National Association of State Personnel Executives. Key findings from the 37 responding states include that the average age of public health workers is nearly 47, retirement rates in public health can be as high as 45 percent in some states over the next five years, and job vacancy rates are as high as 20 percent in some parts of the country. The most severe shortages are occurring in the fields of nursing, epidemiology, and laboratory sciences. “High tech facilities, laboratory equipment, and disease detection systems are crucial to protect the public’s health,” said ASTHO President Mary C. Selecky, Secretary, Washington State Department of Health, “but their real value hinges on the availability of experienced public health professionals who can analyze, interpret, and put to use the information they produce. Many states need additional qualified personnel and are unable to find experienced people to hire.” Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

OODA is comprised of a unique team of international experts capable of providing advanced intelligence and analysis, strategy and planning support, risk and threat management, training, decision support, crisis response, and security services to global corporations and governments.