Creating Iowa’s First Workforce Development Coalition

by Aaron Reinke

Workforce inequities were shown in the results from the 2017 PH-WINS, which show the need for change. Future plans for Iowa’s public health workforce development could focus on how to retain the public health workforce, and potentially training leadership. Local boards of health and county boards of health have power over funding in the public health areas, and are not required to have knowledge of public health. Overcoming the public health problems in Iowa could start with training leadership on fundamentals of public health and the consequences of their decisions.

The first step for these changes is to create our own public health workforce development survey. Our partnership with the Iowa Public Health Association has given us an opportunity to reach all different types of public health organizations within Iowa. Our hope is to gather data relative to Iowa rather than using regional data that include other states as well (Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska). Once we complete the survey we will have a foundation for the creation of Iowa’s first workforce development coalition.

Although the state of the public health workforce is not perfect, staff and leadership around the country are recognizing the strengths and limitations of the workforce. Now it is time to use this information and start taking the steps necessary to create the future for public health and accomplishing the Public Health 3.0 vision.