Local Health Department Workforce Reductions: Implications for Diversity and Health Disparities

Year: 2011
Funding: Research Acceleration & Capacity Expansion Supplement (RACE)
Status: Completed

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This project seeks to quantify the variation in workforce reductions made by local health departments in Washington state in response to the economic downturn, and to estimate the effects of these reductions on local health department service delivery, workforce diversity, and capacity to address health disparities. The study builds on ongoing research conducted by the Washington PBRN to track changes in funding and service delivery among local health departments across the state, and makes use of a unique data repository constructed for this purpose. A mixed method approach is employed that includes linkage and analysis of existing, secondary data sets and the collection of primary qualitative and quantitative data. The project also allows a new investigator from an under-represented racial background to collaborate with the PBRN in the conduct and translation of the study, which includes mentoring from public health practitioners, knowledge and skill development through courses and active involvement in the PBRN, networking and presenting research findings at national and local meetings focusing on practice-based research, and dissemination of study findings via peer-reviewed publications.

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Laura Hitchcock, J.D.

Tracy Hilliard, Ph.D., M.P.H.