Category Archives: Workforce

Recognizing the Importance of NACCHO’s Profile Study to Public Health

By JP Leider, Senior Lecturer at the University of Minnesota, Associate Faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and independent consultant based out of Minneapolis, MN

As NACCHO’s Profile Study returns to the field, I’ve decided to share a reminder of its importance to public health and thank practitioners.

The field of governmental public health is a complicated one. Between our state, local, territorial, and tribal health departments, there are something like 3,000 agencies devoted to the promotion and protection of population health. As someone who studies and works to support those organizations, large-scale datasets that enumerate their activities and characteristics are absolutely critical. I recognize big datasets don’t always sound like the most exciting things in the world. But these datasets, like NACCHO’s National Profile of Local Health Departments (Profile) Study, help us project workforce shortages, keep up with Electronic Health Record uptake at local health departments (LHDs), and figure out just how much the nation is spending on public health and whether it is worth it (spoiler: it is). Continue reading

How Can Public Health Students Make Themselves Competitive for Employment?

The Scholarship of Public Health is a blog series from the Journal of Public Health Management & Practice that addresses topics relevant to scientific publishing, dissemination of evidence and best practices, and the education of current and future professionals. 

As soon as I entered academia, one of the most common questions I received from students was some variation of, “What is the best way to make myself more competitive for a job when I graduate?” To me, there are many answers one can give, and each of them is necessary but not sufficient. One that I most commonly hear is to network, but networking is like marketing, and it’s fruitless to market an inferior product (ask the marketers of “New Coke”). This is not to say that networking, and building contacts, is not necessary, but it’s not sufficient. To me, the answer to the question of marketability is deceivingly simple but often overlooked: demonstrable skills. Both words are important. “Skills” reflects the ability to do something useful, and “demonstrable” represents the fact that they can be observed, most often in the form of a product. Continue reading