Casey Balio publishes on pandemic workforce competency gaps

JOHNSON CITY – A study from the Center for Rural Health Research in the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health examines perceived competency gaps facing the public health workforce in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Rising to Meet the Moment: What Does the Public Health Workforce Need to Modernize?”  was published in the Journal of Public Health Management & Practice on October 13, 2022.   The study uses findings from the most recent Public Health Workforce Interest and Needs Survey (PH WINS) to describe importance, skill level, and gaps of key public health competencies as well as characteristics associated with gaps.

“In this study we were able to use a nationally representative survey of public health workers to understand where they report gaps in key public health competencies and correlations to characteristics of the workforce,” explained lead author of the study Dr. Casey P. Balio, Center for Rural Health Research faculty member and Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Services Management and Policy.

“We found that more than 20% of the workforce perceived gaps in most of the areas assessed, and that those hired for COVID-19 response reported significantly fewer gaps in most areas than the traditional workforce,” Balio said. “Findings from this study may be helpful as public health continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and adjust to the changing demands on the field.”