Assessing competencies of the public health workforce in a frontier state

R. Todd Bartee, Scott D. Winnail, Sara E. Olsen, Connie Diaz, Jo Ann Blevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine the level of perceived proficiency of a public health workforce based on the Public Health Practice Core Competencies. The Public Health Profile and Training Needs Assessment questionnaire was mailed out to public health employees representing mostly public health nursing, environmental health, mental health, and public health management/administration (n = 696). Nearly three-quarters (74%) of participants were female and 96% reported being white. Eighty one percent of participants were currently employed full-time. The majority of participants were trained at the bachelors level (54%). The response rate was 63.9%. Findings from this study show that all disciplines reported higher perceived proficiency in the Communication skills domain compared to the other seven skills domains. Perceived low skills domains included "financial planning and management skills" and "policy development/program planning skills" among public health nurses, mental health professionals, and environmental health specialists. Management/administration level staff reported their lowest perceived proficiency in Basic Public Health Science skills. Each group had different strengths and weaknesses and the necessary level of skill needed differs among discipline groups, thus future trainings on the Public Health Core Competencies should be discipline specific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-469
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Core competencies
  • Needs assessment
  • Public health
  • Workforce development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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