In 2017, Public Health 3.0 was introduced, providing recommendations that expand traditional public department functions and programs. Operationalizing the framework requires that local health departments invest in the requisite professional skills to respond to their community’s needs. The purpose of this paper is to determine the professional skills that are most important for local health departments to respond to large public health issues and challenges that are having a major impact on their communities. The study used a cross-sectional assessment of the education and training needs of local public health departments in Nebraska following the principles of practice-based systems research. The assessment was designed to assess the training and education needs of local health department staff members. The questions measured the perceived importance of and respondent’s capacity across 57 core competencies for public health professionals modified from the Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice. A total of 104 staff members from seven local health departments were requested to complete the assessment and 100% of the individuals responded to and completed the assessment. Twenty-eight skills were identified as the most important skills needed for local health departments. The skills were themed and categorized into four domains. (1) Data, Evaluation, and Quality Improvement, (2) Community Engagement and Facilitation, (3) Systems Thinking and Leadership, and (4) Policy and Advocacy. The results from this analysis provide direction to strengthen and transform the public health system into one that is connected, responsive, and nimble. Additionally, it also highlighted a glaring omission that Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion should be included as the fifth domain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Capacity development
  • Competency assessment
  • Local public health system
  • Public health practice
  • Quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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