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1.  Physician Emigration from Sub-Saharan Africa to the United States: Analysis of the 2011 AMA Physician Masterfile 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(9):e1001513.
Siankam Tankwanchi and colleagues used the AMA Physician Masterfile and the WHO Global Health Workforce Statistics on physicians in sub-Saharan Africa to determine trends in physician emigration to the United States.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
The large-scale emigration of physicians from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to high-income nations is a serious development concern. Our objective was to determine current emigration trends of SSA physicians found in the physician workforce of the United States.
Methods and Findings
We analyzed physician data from the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Health Workforce Statistics along with graduation and residency data from the 2011 American Medical Association Physician Masterfile (AMA-PM) on physicians trained or born in SSA countries who currently practice in the US. We estimated emigration proportions, year of US entry, years of practice before emigration, and length of time in the US. According to the 2011 AMA-PM, 10,819 physicians were born or trained in 28 SSA countries. Sixty-eight percent (n = 7,370) were SSA-trained, 20% (n = 2,126) were US-trained, and 12% (n = 1,323) were trained outside both SSA and the US. We estimated active physicians (age ≤70 years) to represent 96% (n = 10,377) of the total. Migration trends among SSA-trained physicians increased from 2002 to 2011 for all but one principal source country; the exception was South Africa whose physician migration to the US decreased by 8% (−156). The increase in last-decade migration was >50% in Nigeria (+1,113) and Ghana (+243), >100% in Ethiopia (+274), and >200% (+244) in Sudan. Liberia was the most affected by migration to the US with 77% (n = 175) of its estimated physicians in the 2011 AMA-PM. On average, SSA-trained physicians have been in the US for 18 years. They practiced for 6.5 years before US entry, and nearly half emigrated during the implementation years (1984–1999) of the structural adjustment programs.
Physician emigration from SSA to the US is increasing for most SSA source countries. Unless far-reaching policies are implemented by the US and SSA countries, the current emigration trends will persist, and the US will remain a leading destination for SSA physicians emigrating from the continent of greatest need.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Population growth and aging and increasingly complex health care interventions, as well as existing policies and market forces, mean that many countries are facing a shortage of health care professionals. High-income countries are addressing this problem in part by encouraging the immigration of foreign health care professionals from low- and middle-income countries. In the US, for example, international medical graduates (IMGs) can secure visas and permanent residency by passing examinations provided by the Educational Commission of Foreign Medical Graduates and by agreeing to provide care in areas that are underserved by US physicians. Inevitably, the emigration of physicians from low- and middle-income countries undermines health service delivery in the emigrating physicians' country of origin because physician supply is already inadequate in those countries. Physician emigration from sub-Saharan Africa, which has only 2% of the global physician workforce but a quarter of the global burden of disease, is particularly worrying. Since 1970, as a result of large-scale emigration and limited medical education, there has been negligible or negative growth in the density of physicians in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In Liberia, for example, in 1973, there were 7.76 physicians per 100,000 people but by 2008 there were only 1.37 physicians per 100,000 people; in the US, there are 250 physicians per 100,000 people.
Why Was This Study Done?
Before policy proposals can be formulated to address global inequities in physician distribution, a clear picture of the patterns of physician emigration from resource-limited countries is needed. In this study, the researchers use data from the 2011 American Medical Association Physician Masterfile (AMA-PM) to investigate the “brain drain” of physicians from sub-Saharan Africa to the US. The AMA-PM collects annual demographic, academic, and professional data on all residents (physicians undergoing training in a medical specialty) and licensed physicians who practice in the US.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used data from the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Health Workforce Statistics and graduation and residency data from the 2011 AMA-PM to estimate physician emigration rates from sub-Saharan African countries, year of US entry, years of service provided before emigration to the US, and length of time in the US. There were 10,819 physicians who were born or trained in 28 sub-Saharan African countries in the 2011 AMA-PM. By using a published analysis of the 2002 AMA-PM, the researchers estimated that US immigration among sub-Saharan African-trained physicians had increased over the past decade for all the countries examined except South Africa, where physician emigration had decreased by 8%. Overall, the number of sub-Saharan African IMGs in the US had increased by 38% since 2002. More than half of this increase was accounted for by Nigerian IMGs. Liberia was the country most affected by migration of its physicians to the US—77% of its estimated 226 physicians were in the 2011 AMA-PM. On average, sub-Saharan African IMGs had been in the US for 18 years and had practiced for 6.5 years before emigration. Finally, nearly half of the sub-Saharan African IMGs had migrated to US between 1984 and 1995, years during which structural adjustment programs, which resulted in deep cuts to public health care services, were implemented in developing countries by international financial institutions as conditions for refinancing.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although the sub-Saharan African IMGs in the 2011 AMA-PM only represent about 1% of all the physicians and less than 5% of the IMGs in the AMA-PM, these findings reveal a major loss of physicians from sub-Saharan Africa. They also suggest that emigration of physicians from sub-Saharan Africa is a growing problem and is likely to continue unless job satisfaction for physicians is improved in their country of origin. Moreover, because the AMA-PM only lists physicians who qualify for a US residency position, more physicians may have moved from sub-Saharan Africa to the US than reported here and may be working in other jobs incommensurate with their medical degrees (“brain waste”). The researchers suggest that physician emigration from sub-Saharan Africa to the US reflects the complexities in the labor markets for health care professionals in both Africa and the US and can be seen as low- and middle-income nations subsidizing the education of physicians in high-income countries. Policy proposals to address global inequities in physician distribution will therefore need both to encourage the recruitment, training, and retention of health care professionals in resource-limited countries and to persuade high-income countries to train more home-grown physicians to meet the needs of their own populations.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research is a non-profit foundation committed to improving world health through education that was established in 2000 by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates
The Global Health Workforce Alliance is a partnership of national governments, civil society, international agencies, finance institutions, researchers, educators, and professional associations dedicated to identifying, implementing and advocating for solutions to the chronic global shortage of health care professionals (available in several languages)
Information on the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile and the providers of physician data lists is available via the American Medical Associations website
The World Health Organization (WHO) annual World Health Statistics reports present the most recent health statistics for the WHO Member States
The Medical Education Partnership Initiative is a US-sponsored initiative that supports medical education and research in sub-Saharan African institutions, aiming to increase the quantity, quality, and retention of graduates with specific skills addressing the health needs of their national populations
CapacityPlus is the USAID-funded global project uniquely focused on the health workforce needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals
Seed Global Health cultivates the next generation of health professionals by allying medical and nursing volunteers with their peers in resource-limited settings
"America is Stealing the Worlds Doctors", a 2012 New York Times article by Matt McAllester, describes the personal experience of a young doctor who emigrated from Zambia to the US
Path to United States Practice Is Long Slog to Foreign Doctors, a 2013 New York Times article by Catherine Rampell, describes the hurdles that immigrant physicians face in practicing in the US
PMCID: PMC3775724  PMID: 24068894
2.  Assessment of Epidemiology Capacity in State Health Departments, 2004–2009 
Public Health Reports  2011;126(1):84-93.
To assess the number of epidemiologists and epidemiology capacity nationally, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists surveyed state health departments in 2004, 2006, and 2009. This article summarizes findings of the 2009 assessment and analyzes five-year (2004–2009) trends in the epidemiology workforce.
Online surveys collected information from all 50 states and the District of Columbia about the number of epidemiologists employed, their training and education, program and technologic capacity, organizational structure, and funding sources. State epidemiologists were the key informants; 1,544 epidemiologists provided individual-level information.
The number of epidemiologists in state health departments decreased approximately 12% from 2004 to 2009. Two-thirds or more states reported less than substantial (<50% of optimum) surveillance and epidemiology capacity in five of nine program areas. Capacity has diminished since 2006 for three of four epidemiology-related Essential Services of Public Health (ESPHs). Fewer than half of all states reported using surveillance technologies such as Web-based provider reporting systems. State health departments need 68% more epidemiologists to reach optimal capacity in all program areas; smaller states (<5 million population) have higher epidemiologist-to-population ratios than more populous states.
Epidemiology capacity in state health departments is suboptimal and has decreased, as assessed by states' ability to carry out the ESPHs, by their ability to use newer surveillance technologies, and by the number of epidemiologists employed. Federal emergency preparedness funding, which supported more than 20% of state-based epidemiologists in 2006, has decreased. The 2009 Epidemiology Capacity Assessment demonstrates the negative impact of this decrease on states' epidemiology capacity.
PMCID: PMC3001826  PMID: 21337933
3.  From Competencies to Capacity: Assessing the National Epidemiology Workforce 
Public Health Reports  2008;123(Suppl 1):128-135.
We determined the competency of the public health epidemiology workforce within state health agencies based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists Competencies for Applied Epidemiologists in Governmental Public Health Agencies (AECs).
The competence level of current state health agency staff and the need for additional training was assessed against 30 mid-level AECs. Respondents used a five-point Likert scale—ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”—to designate whether staff was competent in certain areas or whether additional training was needed for each of the competencies.
Most states indicated their epidemiology workforce was competent in most of the AECs subject areas. Subject areas with the greatest number of states reporting competency (82%) are creating and managing databases and applying privacy laws. However, at least one-third of the states reported a need for additional training in all competencies assessed. The greatest reported needs were for additional training in surveillance system evaluation and use of knowledge of environmental and behavioral science in epidemiology practice.
The results indicate that most epidemiologists mastered the traditional discipline-specific competencies. However, it is unclear how this level of competency was achieved and what strategies are in place to sustain and strengthen it. The results indicate that epidemiologists have lower levels of competence in the nontraditional epidemiologic fields of knowledge. Future steps to ensure a well-qualified epidemiology workforce include assessing the full AECs in a subgroup of Tier 2 epidemiologists and implementing competencies in academic curricula to sustain reported competency achievements.
PMCID: PMC2233730  PMID: 18497023
4.  Paving Pathways: shaping the Public Health workforce through tertiary education 
Public health educational pathways in Australia have traditionally been the province of Universities, with the Master of Public Health (MPH) recognised as the flagship professional entry program. Public health education also occurs within the fellowship training of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, but within Australia this remains confined to medical graduates. In recent years, however, we have seen a proliferation of undergraduate degrees as well as an increasing public health presence in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector.
Following the 2007 Australian Federal election, the new Labour government brought with it a refreshing commitment to a more inclusive and strategic style of government. An important example of this was the 2020 visioning process that identified key issues of public health concern, including an acknowledgment that it was unacceptable to allocate less than 2% of the health budget towards disease prevention. This led to the recommendation for the establishment of a national preventive health agency (Australia: the healthiest country by 2020 National Preventative Health Strategy, Prepared by the Preventative Health Taskforce 2009).
The focus on disease prevention places a spotlight on the workforce that will be required to deliver the new investment in health prevention, and also on the role of public health education in developing and upskilling the workforce. It is therefore timely to reflect on trends, challenges and opportunities from a tertiary sector perspective. Is it more desirable to focus education efforts on selected lead issues such as the "obesity epidemic", climate change, Indigenous health and so on, or on the underlying theory and skills that build a flexible workforce capable of responding to a range of health challenges? Or should we aspire to both?
This paper presents some of the key discussion points from 2008 - 2009 of the Public Health Educational Pathways workshops and working group of the Australian Network of Public Health Institutions. We highlight some of the competing tensions in public health tertiary education, their impact on public health training programs, and the educational pathways that are needed to grow, shape and prepare the public health workforce for future challenges.
PMCID: PMC2818649  PMID: 20044939
5.  Training and Service in Public Health, Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training, 2008 – 2014 
The Pan African Medical Journal  2014;18(Suppl 1):2.
The health workforce is one of the key building blocks for strengthening health systems. There is an alarming shortage of curative and preventive health care workers in developing countries many of which are in Africa. Africa resultantly records appalling health indices as a consequence of endemic and emerging health issues that are exacerbated by a lack of a public health workforce. In low-income countries, efforts to build public health surveillance and response systems have stalled, due in part, to the lack of epidemiologists and well-trained laboratorians. To strengthen public health systems in Africa, especially for disease surveillance and response, a number of countries have adopted a competency-based approach of training - Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP). The Nigeria FELTP was established in October 2008 as an inservice training program in field epidemiology, veterinary epidemiology and public health laboratory epidemiology and management. The first cohort of NFELTP residents began their training on 20th October 2008 and completed their training in December 2010. The program was scaled up in 2011 and it admitted 39 residents in its third cohort. The program has admitted residents in six annual cohorts since its inception admitting a total of 207 residents as of 2014 covering all the States. In addition the program has trained 595 health care workers in short courses. Since its inception, the program has responded to 133 suspected outbreaks ranging from environmental related outbreaks, vaccine preventable diseases, water and food borne, zoonoses, (including suspected viral hemorrhagic fevers) as well as neglected tropical diseases. With its emphasis on one health approach of solving public health issues the program has recruited physicians, veterinarians and laboratorians to work jointly on human, animal and environmental health issues. Residents have worked to identify risk factors of disease at the human animal interface for influenza, brucellosis, tick-borne relapsing fever, rabies, leptospirosis and zoonotic helminthic infections. The program has been involved in polio eradication efforts through its National Stop Transmission of Polio (NSTOP). The commencement of NFELTP was a novel approach to building sustainable epidemiological capacity to strengthen public health systems especially surveillance and response systems in Nigeria. Training and capacity building efforts should be tied to specific system strengthening and not viewed as an end to them. The approach of linking training and service provision may be an innovative approach towards addressing the numerous health challenges.
PMCID: PMC4199351  PMID: 25328621
Public Health; field epidemiology; training; Capacity building; Nigeria
6.  Assessment of Applied Epidemiology Competencies Among the Virginia Department of Health Workforce 
Public Health Reports  2008;123(Suppl 1):119-127.
Epidemiologists play critical roles in public health. However, until recently, no formal standards existed for epidemiology practice. In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists drafted Competencies for Applied Epidemiologists in Governmental Public Health Agencies (AECs) that provide a foundation for expectations and training programs for three tiers of practice. We characterized the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) epidemiology workforce and assessed its baseline applied epidemiology competency by using these competencies.
Epidemiologists representing multiple divisions developed an Internet survey based on the AECs. Staff who met the definition of an epidemiologist were requested to complete the survey. Within eight skill domains, specific competencies were listed. For each competency, frequency and confidence in performing and need for training were measured by using Likert scales. Differences among tier levels were assessed using analysis of variance.
Eighty-eight people from 10 program areas responded and were included in the analysis. Median epidemiology experience was four years, with 52% having completed formal training. Respondents self-identified as Tier 1/entry-level (38%), Tier 2/mid-level (47%), or Tier 3/senior-level (15%) epidemiologists. Compared with lower tiers, Tier 3 epidemiologists more frequently performed financial or operational planning and management (p=0.023) and communication activities (p=0.018) and had higher confidence in assessment and analysis (p<0.001). Overall, training needs were highest for assessment/analysis and basic public health sciences skills.
VDH has a robust epidemiology workforce with varying levels of experience. Frequency and confidence in performing competencies varied by tier of practice. VDH plans to use these results and the AECs to target staff training activities.
PMCID: PMC2233729  PMID: 18497022
7.  Anatomy of the Epidemiological Literature on the 2003 SARS Outbreaks in Hong Kong and Toronto: A Time-Stratified Review 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(5):e1000272.
Weijia Xing and colleagues reviewed the published epidemiological literature on SARS and show that less than a quarter of papers were published during the epidemic itself, suggesting that the research published lagged substantially behind the need for it.
Outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases, especially those of a global nature, require rapid epidemiological analysis and information dissemination. The final products of those activities usually comprise internal memoranda and briefs within public health authorities and original research published in peer-reviewed journals. Using the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic as an example, we conducted a comprehensive time-stratified review of the published literature to describe the different types of epidemiological outputs.
Methods and Findings
We identified and analyzed all published articles on the epidemiology of the SARS outbreak in Hong Kong or Toronto. The analysis was stratified by study design, research domain, data collection, and analytical technique. We compared the SARS-case and matched-control non-SARS articles published according to the timeline of submission, acceptance, and publication. The impact factors of the publishing journals were examined according to the time of publication of SARS articles, and the numbers of citations received by SARS-case and matched-control articles submitted during and after the epidemic were compared. Descriptive, analytical, theoretical, and experimental epidemiology concerned, respectively, 54%, 30%, 11%, and 6% of the studies. Only 22% of the studies were submitted, 8% accepted, and 7% published during the epidemic. The submission-to-acceptance and acceptance-to-publication intervals of the SARS articles submitted during the epidemic period were significantly shorter than the corresponding intervals of matched-control non-SARS articles published in the same journal issues (p<0.001 and p<0.01, respectively). The differences of median submission-to-acceptance intervals and median acceptance-to-publication intervals between SARS articles and their corresponding control articles were 106.5 d (95% confidence interval [CI] 55.0–140.1) and 63.5 d (95% CI 18.0–94.1), respectively. The median numbers of citations of the SARS articles submitted during the epidemic and over the 2 y thereafter were 17 (interquartile range [IQR] 8.0–52.0) and 8 (IQR 3.2–21.8), respectively, significantly higher than the median numbers of control article citations (15, IQR 8.5–16.5, p<0.05, and 7, IQR 3.0–12.0, p<0.01, respectively).
A majority of the epidemiological articles on SARS were submitted after the epidemic had ended, although the corresponding studies had relevance to public health authorities during the epidemic. To minimize the lag between research and the exigency of public health practice in the future, researchers should consider adopting common, predefined protocols and ready-to-use instruments to improve timeliness, and thus, relevance, in addition to standardizing comparability across studies. To facilitate information dissemination, journal managers should reengineer their fast-track channels, which should be adapted to the purpose of an emerging outbreak, taking into account the requirement of high standards of quality for scientific journals and competition with other online resources.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Every now and then, a new infectious disease appears in a human population or an old disease becomes much more common or more geographically widespread. Recently, several such “emerging infectious diseases” have become major public health problems. For example, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) have all emerged in the past three decades and spread rapidly round the world. When an outbreak (epidemic) of an emerging infectious disease occurs, epidemiologists (scientists who study the causes, distribution, and control of diseases in populations) swing into action, collecting and analyzing data on the new threat to human health. Epidemiological studies are rapidly launched to identify the causative agent of the new disease, to investigate how the disease spreads, to define diagnostic criteria for the disease, to evaluate potential treatments, and to devise ways to control the disease's spread. Public health officials then use the results of these studies to bring the epidemic under control.
Why Was This Study Done?
Clearly, epidemics of emerging infectious diseases can only be controlled rapidly and effectively if the results of epidemiological studies are made widely available in a timely manner. Public health bulletins (for example, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the US Centers from Disease Control and Prevention) are an important way of disseminating information as is the publication of original research in peer-reviewed academic journals. But how timely is this second dissemination route? Submission, peer-review, revision, re-review, acceptance, and publication of a piece of academic research can be a long process, the speed of which is affected by the responses of both authors and journals. In this study, the researchers analyze how the results of academic epidemiological research are submitted and published in journals during and after an emerging infectious disease epidemic using the 2003 SARS epidemic as an example. The first case of SARS was identified in Asia in February 2003 and rapidly spread around the world. 8,098 people became ill with SARS and 774 died before the epidemic was halted in July 2003.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified more than 300 journal articles covering epidemiological research into the SARS outbreak in Hong Kong, China, and Toronto, Canada (two cities strongly affected by the epidemic) that were published online or in print between January 1, 2003 and July 31, 2007. The researchers' analysis of these articles shows that more than half them were descriptive epidemiological studies, investigations that focused on describing the distribution of SARS; a third were analytical epidemiological studies that tried to discover the cause of SARS. Overall, 22% of the journal articles were submitted for publication during the epidemic. Only 8% of the articles were accepted for publication and only 7% were actually published during the epidemic. The median (average) submission-to-acceptance and acceptance-to-publication intervals for SARS articles submitted during the epidemic were 55 and 77.5 days, respectively, much shorter intervals than those for non-SARS articles published in the same journal issues. After the epidemic was over, the submission-to-acceptance and acceptance-to-publication intervals for SARS articles was similar to that of non-SARS articles.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that, although the academic response to the SARS epidemic was rapid, most articles on the epidemiology of SARS were published after the epidemic was over even though SARS was a major threat to public health. Possible reasons for this publication delay include the time taken by authors to prepare and undertake their studies, to write and submit their papers, and, possibly, their tendency to first submit their results to high profile journals. The time then taken by journals to review the studies, make decisions about publication, and complete the publication process might also have delayed matters. To minimize future delays in the publication of epidemiological research on emerging infectious diseases, epidemiologists could adopt common, predefined protocols and ready-to-use instruments, which would improve timeliness and ensure comparability across studies, suggest the researchers. Journals, in turn, could improve their fast-track procedures and could consider setting up online sections that could be activated when an emerging infectious disease outbreak occurred. Finally, journals could consider altering their review system to speed up the publication process provided the quality of the final published articles was not compromised.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases provides information on emerging infectious diseases
The US Centers for Control and Prevention of Diseases also provides information about emerging infectious diseases, including links to other resources, and information on SARS
Wikipedia has a page on epidemiology (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The World Health Organization has information on SARS (in several languages)
PMCID: PMC2864302  PMID: 20454570
8.  Human resource management in post-conflict health systems: review of research and knowledge gaps 
Conflict and Health  2014;8:18.
In post-conflict settings, severe disruption to health systems invariably leaves populations at high risk of disease and in greater need of health provision than more stable resource-poor countries. The health workforce is often a direct victim of conflict. Effective human resource management (HRM) strategies and policies are critical to addressing the systemic effects of conflict on the health workforce such as flight of human capital, mismatches between skills and service needs, breakdown of pre-service training, and lack of human resource data. This paper reviews published literatures across three functional areas of HRM in post-conflict settings: workforce supply, workforce distribution, and workforce performance. We searched published literatures for articles published in English between 2003 and 2013. The search used context-specific keywords (e.g. post-conflict, reconstruction) in combination with topic-related keywords based on an analytical framework containing the three functional areas of HRM (supply, distribution, and performance) and several corresponding HRM topic areas under these. In addition, the framework includes a number of cross-cutting topics such as leadership and governance, finance, and gender. The literature is growing but still limited. Many publications have focused on health workforce supply issues, including pre-service education and training, pay, and recruitment. Less is known about workforce distribution, especially governance and administrative systems for deployment and incentive policies to redress geographical workforce imbalances. Apart from in-service training, workforce performance is particularly under-researched in the areas of performance-based incentives, management and supervision, work organisation and job design, and performance appraisal. Research is largely on HRM in the early post-conflict period and has relied on secondary data. More primary research is needed across the areas of workforce supply, workforce distribution, and workforce performance. However, this should apply a longer-term focus throughout the different post-conflict phases, while paying attention to key cross-cutting themes such as leadership and governance, gender equity, and task shifting. The research gaps identified should enable future studies to examine how HRM could be used to meet both short and long term objectives for rebuilding health workforces and thereby contribute to achieving more equitable and sustainable health systems outcomes after conflict.
PMCID: PMC4187016  PMID: 25295071
Human resource management; Health workforce; Post-conflict; Fragile; Health systems; Reconstruction
9.  The effectiveness of an aged care specific leadership and management program on workforce, work environment, and care quality outcomes: design of a cluster randomised controlled trial 
A plethora of observational evidence exists concerning the impact of management and leadership on workforce, work environment, and care quality. Yet, no randomised controlled trial has been conducted to test the effectiveness of leadership and management interventions in aged care. An innovative aged care clinical leadership program (Clinical Leadership in Aged Care − CLiAC) was developed to improve managers’ leadership capacities to support the delivery of quality care in Australia. This paper describes the study design of the cluster randomised controlled trial testing the effectiveness of the program.
Twenty-four residential and community aged care sites were recruited as managers at each site agreed in writing to participate in the study and ensure that leaders allocated to the control arm would not be offered the intervention program. Sites undergoing major managerial or structural changes were excluded. The 24 sites were randomly allocated to receive the CLiAC program (intervention) or usual care (control), stratified by type (residential vs. community, six each for each arm). Treatment allocation was masked to assessors and staff of all participating sites. The objective is to establish the effectiveness of the CLiAC program in improving work environment, workforce retention, as well as care safety and quality, when compared to usual care. The primary outcomes are measures of work environment, care quality and safety, and staff turnover rates. Secondary outcomes include manager leadership capacity, staff absenteeism, intention to leave, stress levels, and job satisfaction. Differences between intervention and control groups will be analysed by researchers blinded to treatment allocation using linear regression of individual results adjusted for stratification and clustering by site (primary analysis), and additionally for baseline values and potential confounders (secondary analysis). Outcomes measured at the site level will be compared by cluster-level analysis. The overall costs and benefits of the program will also be assessed.
The outcomes of the trial have the potential to inform actions to enhance leadership and management capabilities of the aged care workforce, address pressing issues about workforce shortages, and increase the quality of aged care services.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12611001070921)
PMCID: PMC3874748  PMID: 24160714
Cluster randomised controlled trial; Aged care; Leadership; Management; Work environment; Quality and safety; Workforce retention
10.  Hospital Performance, the Local Economy, and the Local Workforce: Findings from a US National Longitudinal Study 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(6):e1000297.
Blustein and colleagues examine the associations between changes in hospital performance and their local economic resources. Locationally disadvantaged hospitals perform poorly on key indicators, raising concerns that pay-for-performance models may not reduce inequality.
Pay-for-performance is an increasingly popular approach to improving health care quality, and the US government will soon implement pay-for-performance in hospitals nationwide. Yet hospital capacity to perform (and improve performance) likely depends on local resources. In this study, we quantify the association between hospital performance and local economic and human resources, and describe possible implications of pay-for-performance for socioeconomic equity.
Methods and Findings
We applied county-level measures of local economic and workforce resources to a national sample of US hospitals (n = 2,705), during the period 2004–2007. We analyzed performance for two common cardiac conditions (acute myocardial infarction [AMI] and heart failure [HF]), using process-of-care measures from the Hospital Quality Alliance [HQA], and isolated temporal trends and the contributions of individual resource dimensions on performance, using multivariable mixed models. Performance scores were translated into net scores for hospitals using the Performance Assessment Model, which has been suggested as a basis for reimbursement under Medicare's “Value-Based Purchasing” program. Our analyses showed that hospital performance is substantially associated with local economic and workforce resources. For example, for HF in 2004, hospitals located in counties with longstanding poverty had mean HQA composite scores of 73.0, compared with a mean of 84.1 for hospitals in counties without longstanding poverty (p<0.001). Hospitals located in counties in the lowest quartile with respect to college graduates in the workforce had mean HQA composite scores of 76.7, compared with a mean of 86.2 for hospitals in the highest quartile (p<0.001). Performance on AMI measures showed similar patterns. Performance improved generally over the study period. Nevertheless, by 2007—4 years after public reporting began—hospitals in locationally disadvantaged areas still lagged behind their locationally advantaged counterparts. This lag translated into substantially lower net scores under the Performance Assessment Model for hospital reimbursement.
Hospital performance on clinical process measures is associated with the quantity and quality of local economic and human resources. Medicare's hospital pay-for-performance program may exacerbate inequalities across regions, if implemented as currently proposed. Policymakers in the US and beyond may need to take into consideration the balance between greater efficiency through pay-for-performance and socioeconomic equity.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
These days, many people are rewarded for working hard and efficiently by being given bonuses when they reach preset performance targets. With a rapidly aging population and rising health care costs, policy makers in many developed countries are considering ways of maximizing value for money, including rewarding health care providers when they meet targets, under “pay-for-performance.” In the UK, for example, a major pay-for-performance initiative—the Quality and Outcomes Framework—began in 2004. All the country's general practices (primary health care facilities that deal with all medical ailments) now detail their achievements in terms of numerous clinical quality indicators for common chronic conditions (for example, the regularity of blood sugar checks for people with diabetes). They are then rewarded on the basis of these results.
Why Was This Study Done?
In the US, the government is poised to implement a nationwide pay-for-performance program in hospitals within Medicare, the government program that provides health insurance to Americans aged 65 years or older, as well as people with disabilities. However, some observers are concerned about the effect that the proposed pay-for-performance program might have on the distribution of health care resources in the US. Pay-for-performance assumes that health care providers have the economic and human resources that they need to perform or to improve their performance. But, if a hospital's capacity to perform depends on local resources, payment based on performance might worsen existing health care inequalities because hospitals in under-resourced areas might lose funds to hospitals in more affluent regions. In other words, the government might act as a reverse Robin Hood, taking from the poor and giving to the rich. In this study, the researchers examine the association between hospital performance and local economic and human resources, to explore whether this scenario is a plausible result of the pending change in US hospital reimbursement.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
US hospitals have voluntarily reported their performance on indicators of clinical care (“process-of-care measures”) for acute myocardial infarction (AMI, heart attack), heart failure (HF), and pneumonia under the Hospital Quality Alliance (HQA) program since 2004. The researchers identified 2,705 hospitals that had fully reported process-of-care measures for AMI and HF in both 2004 and 2007. They then used the “Performance Assessment Model” (a methodology developed by the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to score hospital performance) to calculate scores for each hospital. Finally, they looked for associations between these scores and measures of the hospital's local economic and human resources such as population poverty levels and the percentage of college graduates in the workforce. Hospital performance was associated with local and economic workforce capacity, they report. Thus, hospitals in counties with longstanding poverty had lower average performance scores for HF and AMI than hospitals in affluent counties. Similarly, hospitals in counties with a low percentage of college graduates in the workforce had lower average performance scores than hospitals in counties where more of the workforce had been to college. Finally, although performance improved generally over the study period, hospitals in disadvantaged areas still lagged behind hospitals in advantaged areas in 2007.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that hospital performance (as measured by the clinical process measures considered here) is associated with the quantity and quality of local human and economic resources. Thus, the proposed Medicare hospital pay-for-performance program may exacerbate existing US health care inequalities by leading to the transfer of funds from hospitals in disadvantaged locations to those in advantaged locations. Although further studies are needed to confirm this conclusion, these findings have important implications for pay-for-performance programs in health care. They suggest that US policy makers may need to modify how they measure performance improvement—the current Performance Assessment Model gives hospitals that start from a low baseline less credit for improvements than those that start from a high baseline. This works against hospitals in disadvantaged locations, which start at a low baseline. Second and more generally, they suggest that there may be a tension between the efficiency goals of pay-for-performance and other equity goals of health care systems. In a world where resources vary across regions, the expectation that regions can perform equally may not be realistic.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at is an online resource for learning about the US health care system. It includes educational modules on such topics as the Medicare program and efforts to improve the quality of care
The Hospital Quality Alliance provides information on the quality of care in US hospitals
Information about the UK National Health Service Quality and Outcomes Framework pay-for-performance initiative for general practice surgeries is available
PMCID: PMC2893955  PMID: 20613863
11.  Developing Competencies for Applied Epidemiology: From Process to Product 
Public Health Reports  2008;123(Suppl 1):67-118.
We developed competencies for applied epidemiologic practice by using a process that is based on existing competency frameworks, that engages professionals in academic and applied epidemiology at all governmental levels (local, state, and federal), and that provides ample opportunity for input from practicing epidemiologists throughout the U.S.
The model set of core public health competencies, consisting of eight core domains of public health practice, developed in 2001 by the Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice, were adopted as the foundation of the Competencies for Applied Epidemiologists in Governmental Public Health Agencies (AECs). A panel of experts was convened and met over a period of 20 months to develop a draft set of AECs. Drafts were presented at the annual meetings of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and the American Public Health Association. Input and comments were also solicited from practicing epidemiologists and 14 national organizations representing epidemiology and public health.
In all, we developed 149 competency statements across the eight domains of public health practice and four tiers of applied epidemiologic practice. In addition, sub- and sub-subcompetency statements were developed to increase the document's specificity. During the process, >800 comments from all governmental and academic levels and tiers of epidemiology practice were considered for the final statements.
The AECs are available for use in improving the training for and skill levels of practicing applied epidemiologists and should also be useful for educators, employers, and supervisors. Both CDC and CSTE plan to evaluate their implementation and usefulness in providing information for future competency development.
PMCID: PMC2233728  PMID: 18497021
12.  Exploring the relationship between governance mechanisms in healthcare and health workforce outcomes: a systematic review 
The objective of this systematic review of diverse evidence was to examine the relationship between health system governance and workforce outcomes. Particular attention was paid to how governance mechanisms facilitate change in the workforce to ensure the effective use of all health providers.
In accordance with standard systematic review procedures, the research team independently screened over 4300 abstracts found in database searches, website searches, and bibliographies. Searches were limited to 2001–2012, included only publications from Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. Peer- reviewed papers and grey literature were considered. Two reviewers independently rated articles on quality and relevance and classified them into themes identified by the team. One hundred and thirteen articles that discussed both workforce and governance were retained and extracted into narrative summary tables for synthesis.
Six types of governance mechanisms emerged from our analysis. Shared governance, Magnet accreditation, and professional development initiatives were all associated with improved outcomes for the health workforce (e.g., decreased turnover, increased job satisfaction, increased empowerment, etc.). Implementation of quality-focused initiatives was associated with apprehension among providers, but opportunities for provider training on these initiatives increased quality and improved work attitudes. Research on reorganization of healthcare delivery suggests that changing to team-based care is accompanied by stress and concerns about role clarity, that outcomes vary for providers in private versus public organizations, and that co-operative clinics are beneficial for physicians. Funding schemes required a supplementary search to achieve adequate depth and coverage. Those findings are reported elsewhere.
The results of the review show that while there are governance mechanisms that consider workforce impacts, it is not to the extent one might expect given the importance of the workforce for improving patient outcomes. Furthermore, to successfully implement governance mechanisms in this domain, there are key strategies recommended to support change and achieve desired outcomes. The most important of these are: to build trust by clearly articulating the organization’s goal; considering the workforce through planning, implementation, and evaluation phases; and providing strong leadership.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-479) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4282499  PMID: 25280467
Workforce outcomes; Governance; Quality improvement; Work attitudes; Magnet accreditation; Shared governance; Healthcare delivery; Review
13.  International Collaboration for Improved Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response in India 
This project aimed to contribute to ongoing efforts to improve the capability and capacity to undertake disease surveillance and Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) activities in India. The main outcome measure was to empower a cadre of trainers through the inter-related streams of training & education to enhance knowledge and skills and the development of collaborative networks in the regions.
The International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005, provides a framework that supports efforts to improve global health security and requires that, member states develop and strengthen systems and capacity for disease surveillance and detection and response to public health threats. To contribute to this global agenda, an international collaborative comprising of personnel from the Health Protection Agency, West Midlands, United Kingdom (HPA); the Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH), Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh (AP) state, India and the Department of Community Medicine, Rajarajeswari Medical College and Hospital (RRMCH), Bangalore, Karnataka state, India was established with funding from the HPA Global Health Fund to deliver the objectives stated above.
In 2010, the project partners jointly developed training materials on applied Epidemiology & Disease Surveillance and EPR using existing HPA material as the foundation. Over a 2 year period, a total of two training courses per year were planned for each of the two locations in India. Courses were designed to be delivered through didactic lectures, simulation exercises, workshops and group discussions at the two locations, namely Bangalore and Hyderabad. The target audience included senior state level programme officers, District Medical and Health Officers, postgraduate students, academic and research staff from Community Medicine departments and staff from the collaborating institutions.
Course modules were formally evaluated by participants using structured questionnaires and an external evaluator. Debrief sessions were also arranged after each course to review the key lessons and identify areas for improvement.
In addition, staff exchanges of up to six weeks duration were planned during which public health specialists from both countries would spend time observing health protection systems/processes in their host country.
During January 2010 to December 2011, a total of seven (n=7) training courses were delivered in Bangalore and Hyderabad with approximately 231 public health personnel in attendance over the period. Participants comprised of 128 personnel representing 74 organisations in 41 districts (22 districts from AP) at the Hyderabad location and 103 personnel from 14 organisations (30 districts) at the Bangalore location.
Course participants evaluated the content of the courses favourably with the majority (92%) rating the course modules as excellent or good. External evaluation of the courses was also favourable with several aspects of the course rated as good or excellent. IIPH and RRMC continue to deliver the courses and in the state of Karnataka, some participants at the EPR course were chosen by the health ministry to be part of Rapid Response Teams at District levels.
Two public health specialists from each of the Indian organisations spent six (6) weeks in the United Kingdom as part of the planned staff exchanges. The exchanges were assessed to have been successful with important areas for future collaboration identified including proposals to jointly develop an Emergency Preparedness and Response Manual for the Indian Public Health audience.
The implementation and maintenance of effective and sustainable systems to ensure global health security relies on a well-trained public health workforce in member states. This innovative collaborative project has gone some way towards meeting its objective of establishing and supporting a cadre of trainers to ensure sustainable improvement in public health capacity and capability in India. After the initial (training) phase of the project that was completely funded by the HPA, the partner organisations in India have worked to sustain and further develop the core objectives of this project. As a further step, course materials developed as part of this project will be used to provide a framework upon which e-learning material and postgraduate modules will be developed in each of these institutions in India.
PMCID: PMC3692801
Surveillance; Training; EPR; IHR
14.  Public health human resources: a comparative analysis of policy documents in two Canadian provinces 
Amidst concerns regarding the capacity of the public health system to respond rapidly and appropriately to threats such as pandemics and terrorism, along with changing population health needs, governments have focused on strengthening public health systems. A key factor in a robust public health system is its workforce. As part of a nationally funded study of public health renewal in Canada, a policy analysis was conducted to compare public health human resources-relevant documents in two Canadian provinces, British Columbia (BC) and Ontario (ON), as they each implement public health renewal activities.
A content analysis of policy and planning documents from government and public health-related organizations was conducted by a research team comprised of academics and government decision-makers. Documents published between 2003 and 2011 were accessed (BC = 27; ON = 20); documents were either publicly available or internal to government and excerpted with permission. Documentary texts were deductively coded using a coding template developed by the researchers based on key health human resources concepts derived from two national policy documents.
Documents in both provinces highlighted the importance of public health human resources planning and policies; this was particularly evident in early post-SARS documents. Key thematic areas of public health human resources identified were: education, training, and competencies; capacity; supply; intersectoral collaboration; leadership; public health planning context; and priority populations. Policy documents in both provinces discussed the importance of an educated, competent public health workforce with the appropriate skills and competencies for the effective and efficient delivery of public health services.
This policy analysis identified progressive work on public health human resources policy and planning with early documents providing an inventory of issues to be addressed and later documents providing evidence of beginning policy development and implementation. While many similarities exist between the provinces, the context distinctive to each province has influenced and shaped how they have focused their public health human resources policies.
PMCID: PMC3936858  PMID: 24564931
Public health human resources; Public health workforce; Policy analysis; Public health systems renewal; Public health systems research
15.  Status of epidemiology in the WHO South-East Asia region: burden of disease, determinants of health and epidemiological research, workforce and training capacity 
Background The South-East Asia region (SEAR) accounts for one-quarter of the world's population, 40% of the global poor and ∼30% of the global disease burden, with a disproportionately large share of tuberculosis (35%), injuries (30%), maternal (33%) and <5-year-old mortality (30%). In this article, we describe the disease burden and status of epidemiological research and capacity in the SEAR to understand, analyse and develop capacity in response to the diverse burdens of diseases in the region.
Methods Data on morbidity, mortality, risk factors, social determinants, research capacity, health education, workforce and systems in the SEAR were obtained using global data on burden of disease, peer-reviewed journals, World Health Organization (WHO) technical and advisory reports, and where available, validated country reports and key informants from the region.
Results SEAR countries are afflicted with a triple burden of disease—infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases and injuries. Of the seven WHO regions, SEAR countries account for the highest proportion of global mortality (26%) and due to relatively younger ages at death, the second highest percentage of total years of life lost (30%). The SEAR exceeds the global average annual mortality rate for all three broad cause groupings—communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions (334 vs 230 per 100 000); non-communicable diseases (676 vs 573 per 100 000); and injuries (101 vs 78 per 100 000). Poverty, education and other social determinants of health are strongly linked to inequities in health among SEAR countries and within socio-economic subgroups. India, Thailand and Bangladesh produce two-thirds of epidemiology publications in the region. Significant efforts to increase health workforce capacity, research and training have been undertaken in the region, yet considerable heterogeneity in resources and capacity remains.
Conclusions Health systems, statistics and surveillance programmes must respond to the demographic, economic and epidemiological transitions that define the current disease burden and risk profile of SEAR populations. Inequities in health must be critically analysed, documented and addressed through multi-sectoral approaches. There is a critical need to improve public health intelligence by building epidemiological capacity in the region.
PMCID: PMC3396314  PMID: 22617689
Epidemiology; South-East Asia region; research capacity; training capacity; social determinants; workforce
16.  The Epidemiologic Vocabulary of the West and the Former Soviet Union: Different Sides of the Same Science 
The purpose of this project was to develop an English-Russian Epidemiology Dictionary, which is needed for improved international collaboration in public health surveillance.
As part of the US Department of Defense strategy to counter biological threats, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Cooperative Biological Engagement Program is enhancing the capabilities of countries in the former Soviet Union (FSU) to detect, diagnose, and report endemic and epidemic, man-made or natural cases of especially dangerous pathogens. During these engagements, it was noted that Western-trained and Soviet-trained epidemiologists have difficulty, beyond that of simple translation, in exchanging ideas.
The Soviet public health system and epidemiology developed independently of that of other nations. Whereas epidemiology in the West is thought of in terms of disease determinants in populations and relies on statistics to make inferences, classical Soviet epidemiology is founded on a more ecological view with the main focus on infectious diseases’ spread theory. Consequently many fundamental Soviet terms and concepts lack simple correlates in English and other languages outside the Soviet sphere; the same is true when attempting to translate from English to Russian and other languages of the FSU. Systematic review of the differences in FSU and Western epidemiologic concepts and terminology is therefore needed for strengthening understanding and collaboration in disease surveillance, pandemic preparedness, response to biological terrorism, etc.
Following an extensive search of the Russian and English literature by a working group of Western and FSU epidemiologists, we created a matrix containing English and Russian definitions of key epidemiologic terms found in FSU and Western epidemiology manuals and dictionaries, such as A Dictionary of Epidemiology (1), Epidemiology Manual (2) and many other sources. Particular emphasis was placed on terms relating to infectious disease surveillance, analysis of surveillance data, and outbreak investigation. In order to compare the definitions of each term and to elucidate differences in usage and existing gaps, all definitions were translated into English and Russian so that the definitions could be compared side by side and discussed by the working group.
Six hundred and thirty one terms from 27 English and 51 Russian sources were chosen for inclusion based on their importance in applied epidemiology in either the West or the FSU. Review of the definitions showed that many terms within biosurveillance and infectious disease public health practice are used differently, and some concepts are lacking altogether in the Russian or English literature. Significant gaps in FSU epidemiology are in the areas of biostatistics and epidemiologic study designs. There are distinctive differences in FSU and Western epidemiology in the conceptualization and classification of disease transmission, surveillance practices, and control measures.
Epidemiologic concepts and definitions significantly differed in the FSU and Western literature. To improve biosurveillance and international collaboration, recognition of these differences must occur. Detailed analysis of epidemiology terminology differences will be discussed in the presentation and paper. Major limitations of the work were scarcity of prior research on the subject and lack of bilingual epidemiologists with the good understanding of FSU and Western approaches. A bilingual reference in the form of a dictionary will greatly improve mutual comprehension and collaboration in the areas of biosurveillance and public health practice.
PMCID: PMC3692890
Surveillance; Dictionary; Collaboration
17.  The medical schools outcomes database project: Australian medical student characteristics 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14(1):180.
Global medical workforce requirements highlight the need for effective workforce planning, with the overall aims being to alleviate doctor shortages and prevent maldistribution. The Medical Schools Outcomes Database and Longitudinal Tracking (MSOD) Project provides a foundation for evaluating outcomes of medical education programs against specified workforce objectives (including rural and areas of workforce needs), assisting in medical workforce planning, and provision of a national research resource. This paper describes the methodology and baseline results for the MSOD project.
The MSOD Project is a prospective longitudinal multiple-cohort study. The project invites all commencing and completing Australian medical students to complete short questionnaires. Participants are then asked to participate in four follow-up surveys at 1, 3, 5 and 8 years after graduation.
Since 2005, 30,635 responses for medical students (22,126 commencing students and 8,509 completing students) in Australia have been collected. To date, overall eligible cohort response rates are 91% for commencing students, and 83% for completing students. Eighty three percent of completing medical student respondents had also completed a commencing questionnaire.
Approximately 80% of medical students at Australian medical schools are Australian citizens. Australian medical schools have only small proportions of Indigenous students. One third of medical students speak a language other than English at home.The top three vocational choices for commencing medical students were surgery, paediatrics and child health and general practice. The top three vocational choices for completing students were surgery, adult medicine/ physician, and general practice. Overall, 75.7% of medical students changed their first career preference from commencement to exit from medical school.
Most commencing and completing medical students wish to have their future medical practice in capital cities or in major urban centers. Only 8.1% of commencing students and 4.6% of completing students stated an intention to have their future medical practice in smaller towns and small communities.
The MSOD longitudinal project is now an established national resource that is beginning to generate significant research outputs, along with providing key information for workforce planning and policy makers. The project has now expanded to enrol New Zealand medical students.
PMCID: PMC4156614  PMID: 25169797
Medical education; Medical workforce; Health; Medical student; Medical doctors; Longitudinal; Medicine; Methodology; Interns; Internship
18.  How evidence-based workforce planning in Australia is informing policy development in the retention and distribution of the health workforce 
Australia’s health workforce is facing significant challenges now and into the future. Health Workforce Australia (HWA) was established by the Council of Australian Governments as the national agency to progress health workforce reform to address the challenges of providing a skilled, innovative and flexible health workforce in Australia. HWA developed Australia’s first major, long-term national workforce projections for doctors, nurses and midwives over a planning horizon to 2025 (called Health Workforce 2025; HW 2025), which provided a national platform for developing policies to help ensure Australia’s health workforce meets the community’s needs.
A review of existing workforce planning methodologies, in concert with the project brief and an examination of data availability, identified that the best fit-for-purpose workforce planning methodology was the stock and flow model for estimating workforce supply and the utilisation method for estimating workforce demand. Scenario modelling was conducted to explore the implications of possible alternative futures, and to demonstrate the sensitivity of the model to various input parameters. Extensive consultation was conducted to test the methodology, data and assumptions used, and also influenced the scenarios selected for modelling. Additionally, a number of other key principles were adopted in developing HW 2025 to ensure the workforce projections were robust and able to be applied nationally.
The findings from HW 2025 highlighted that a ‘business as usual’ approach to Australia’s health workforce is not sustainable over the next 10 years, with a need for co-ordinated, long-term reforms by government, professions and the higher education and training sector for a sustainable and affordable health workforce. The main policy levers identified to achieve change were innovation and reform, immigration, training capacity and efficiency and workforce distribution.
While HW 2025 has provided a national platform for health workforce policy development, it is not a one-off project. It is an ongoing process where HWA will continue to develop and improve health workforce projections incorporating data and methodology improvements to support incremental health workforce changes.
PMCID: PMC3922608  PMID: 24490586
Workforce planning; Workforce projections
19.  CAM practitioners in the Australian health workforce: an underutilized resource 
CAM practitioners are a valuable but underutilizes resource in Australian health care. Despite increasing public support for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) little is known about the CAM workforce. Apart from the registered professions of chiropractic, osteopathy and Chinese medicine, accurate information about the number of CAM practitioners in the workforce has been difficult to obtain. It appears that many non-registered CAM practitioners, although highly qualified, are not working to their full capacity.
Increasing public endorsement of CAM stands in contrast to the negative attitude toward the CAM workforce by some members of the medical and other health professions and by government policy makers. The marginalisation of the CAM workforce is evident in prejudicial attitudes held by some members of the medical and other health professions and its exclusion from government policy making. Inconsistent educational standards has meant that non-registered CAM practitioners, including highly qualified and competent ones, are frequently overlooked. Legitimising their contribution to the health workforce could alleviate workforce shortages and provide opportunities for redesigned job roles and new multidisciplinary teams. Priorities for better utilisation of the CAM workforce include establishing a guaranteed minimum education standard for more CAM occupation groups through national registration, providing interprofessional education that includes CAM practitioners, developing courses to upgrade CAM practitioners' professional skills in areas of indentified need, and increasing support for CAM research.
Marginalisation of the CAM workforce has disadvantaged those qualified and competent CAM practitioners who practise evidence-informed medicine on the basis of many years of university training. Legitimising and expanding the important contribution of CAM practitioners could alleviate projected health workforce shortages, particularly for the prevention and management of chronic health conditions and for health promotion.
PMCID: PMC3528465  PMID: 23116374
20.  Florida Epidemic Intelligence Service Program: The First Five Years, 2001–2006 
Public Health Reports  2008;123(Suppl 1):21-27.
The Florida Epidemic Intelligence Service Program was created in 2001 to increase epidemiologic capacity within the state. Patterned after applied epidemiology training programs such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Epidemic Intelligence Service and the California Epidemiologic Investigation Service, the two-year postgraduate program is designed to train public leaders of the future. The long-term goal is to increase the capacity of the Florida Department of Health to respond to new challenges in disease control and prevention. Placement is with experienced epidemiologists in county health departments/consortia. Fellows participate in didactic and experiential components, and complete core activities for learning as evidence of competency. As evidenced by graduate employment, the program is successfully meeting its goal. As of 2006, three classes (n=18) have graduated. Among graduates, 83% are employed as epidemiologists, 67% in Florida. Training in local health departments and an emphasis on graduate retention may assist states in strengthening their epidemiologic capacity.
PMCID: PMC2233739  PMID: 18497015
21.  Evaluation of an inter-professional training program for student clinical supervision in Australia 
Human Resources for Health  2014;12(1):60.
As a response to an Australian shortage of clinical health, nursing, and medical placements, Commonwealth Government funding has been directed to expand student training opportunities and increase the competence and number of available clinical supervisors. This paper evaluates the application of a particular supervision training model for this purpose. It considers the model’s suitability and relevance across professions and its impact on supervisory knowledge, skills, and values as well as the intention to supervise students.
The design, delivery, and evaluation of a series of one-day introductory student clinical supervision training workshops for allied health disciplines, nursing, and medicine are considered. Participants evaluated Proctor’s model of clinical supervision, which was expanded by the trainers to incorporate diversity and power relations in student supervision.
Evaluation results suggest that adapting Proctor’s model for student clinical supervision is relevant across a broad range of health disciplines and clinical areas. Participants from 11 health professions reported that the training improved their knowledge, skills, and values and expanded their willingness to accept student clinical placements. The outcomes are suggestive of enhanced clinical supervision intent, capacity, and capability.
The student supervision training improved participants’ confidence in their clinical supervision skills. The findings suggest that the training has the potential to extend capacity and capability for student supervision across health professions and in Health Workforce Australia’s identified priority areas of mental health, community health, rehabilitation, private practice, and non-government organisations. Findings also indicate that these gains are reliant on health organizations developing and sustaining cultures of learning.
PMCID: PMC4210568  PMID: 25315336
Clinical placement; Clinical supervision; Clinical supervision training; Clinical supervisor; Student supervision
22.  FIRST Things First: A Practice-Academic Collaboration to Develop and Deliver a Competency-Based Series of Applied Epidemiology Trainings 
Public Health Reports  2008;123(Suppl 1):53-58.
The Florida Center for Public Health Preparedness in the University of South Florida College of Public Health and the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) collaborated to design, develop, and deliver two competency-based epidemiology training programs aimed at increasing the epidemiologic preparedness and response capability of the FDOH workforce. They were also designed to meet the requirements of the National Incident Management System and recommendations or needs identified in national studies. The basis for the trainings is an epidemiology competency set developed by the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine. The target audiences for the two trainings are non-epidemiologists or practicing epidemiologists who have relatively little formal education in epidemiology. Both courses have online as well as onsite modules. Alternate tabletop exercises have been completed and delivered for anthrax and plague. Both trainings require participant demonstration of skills. The trainings have been well received, appear to be effective, and are used to credential members of Florida's epidemiology strike teams.
PMCID: PMC2233726  PMID: 18497019
23.  Thinking Beyond the Silos: Emerging Priorities in Workforce Development for State and Local Government Public Health Agencies 
Supplemental Digital Content is Available in the Text.
This study focuses on the existing public health workforce, with the results aiming at informing the revisions public health academic programs and standards are experiencing nationally.
Discipline-specific workforce development initiatives have been a focus in recent years. This is due, in part, to competency-based training standards and funding sources that reinforce programmatic silos within state and local health departments.
National leadership groups representing the specific disciplines within public health were asked to look beyond their discipline-specific priorities and collectively assess the priorities, needs, and characteristics of the governmental public health workforce.
The challenges and opportunities facing the public health workforce and crosscutting priority training needs of the public health workforce as a whole were evaluated. Key informant interviews were conducted with 31 representatives from public health member organizations and federal agencies. Interviews were coded and analyzed for major themes. Next, 10 content briefs were created on the basis of priority areas within workforce development. Finally, an in-person priority setting meeting was held to identify top workforce development needs and priorities across all disciplines within public health.
Representatives from 31 of 37 invited public health organizations participated, including representatives from discipline-specific member organizations, from national organizations and from federal agencies.
Systems thinking, communicating persuasively, change management, information and analytics, problem solving, and working with diverse populations were the major crosscutting areas prioritized.
Decades of categorical funding created a highly specialized and knowledgeable workforce that lacks many of the foundational skills now most in demand. The balance between core and specialty training should be reconsidered.
PMCID: PMC4207571  PMID: 24667228
public health departments; workforce; workforce development
24.  Health inequalities as a foundation for embodying knowledge within public health teaching: a qualitative study 
Recent UK health policies identified nurses as key contributors to the social justice agenda of reducing health inequalities, on the assumption that all nurses understand and wish to contribute to public health. Following this policy shift, public health content within pre-registration nursing curricula increased. However, public health nurse educators (PHNEs) had various backgrounds, and some had limited formal public health training, or involvement in or understanding of policy required to contribute effectively to it. Their knowledge of this subject, their understanding and interpretation of how it could be taught, was not fully understood.
This research aimed to understand how public health nurse educators’ professional knowledge could be conceptualised and to develop a substantive theory of their knowledge of teaching public health, using a qualitative data analysis approach. Qualitative in-depth semi-structured interviews (n=26) were conducted with eleven university-based PHNEs.
Integrating public health into all aspects of life was seen as central to the knowing and teaching of public health; this was conceptualised as ‘embodying knowledge’. Participants identified the meaning of embodying knowledge for teaching public health as: (a) possessing a wider vision of health; (b) reflecting and learning from experience; and (c) engaging in appropriate pedagogical practices.
The concept of public health can mean different things to different people. The variations of meaning ascribed to public health reflect the various backgrounds from which the public health workforce is drawn. The analysis indicates that PHNEs are embodying knowledge for teaching through critical pedagogy, which involves them engaging in transformative, interpretive and integrative processes to refashion public health concepts; this requires PHNEs who possess a vision of what to teach, know how to teach, and are able to learn from experience. Their vision of public health is influenced by social justice principles in that health inequalities, socioeconomic determinants of health, epidemiology, and policy and politics are seen as essential areas of the public health curriculum. They believe in forms of teaching that achieve social transformation at individual, behavioural and societal levels, while also enabling learners to recognise their capacity to effect change.
PMCID: PMC3698137  PMID: 23809694
Social Justice; Inequalities in Health; Public Health; Embodying Knowledge
25.  Increasing community capacity to prevent childhood obesity: challenges, lessons learned and results from the Romp & Chomp intervention 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:522.
Obesity is a major public health issue; however, only limited evidence is available about effective ways to prevent obesity, particularly in early childhood. Romp & Chomp was a community-wide obesity prevention intervention conducted in Geelong Australia with a target group of 12,000 children aged 0-5 years. The intervention had an environmental and capacity building focus and we have recently demonstrated that the prevalence of overweight/obesity was lower in intervention children, post-intervention. Capacity building is defined as the development of knowledge, skills, commitment, structures, systems and leadership to enable effective health promotion and the aim of this study was to determine if the capacity of the Geelong community, represented by key stakeholder organisations, to support healthy eating and physical activity for young children was increased after Romp & Chomp.
A mixed methods evaluation with three data sources was utilised. 1) Document analysis comprised assessment of the documented formative and intervention activities against a capacity building framework (five domains: Partnerships, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Workforce Development, and Organisational Development); 2) Thematic analysis of key informant interviews (n = 16); and 3) the quantitative Community Capacity Index Survey.
Document analysis showed that the majority of the capacity building activities addressed the Partnerships, Resource Allocation and Organisational Development domains of capacity building, with a lack of activity in the Leadership and Workforce Development domains. The thematic analysis revealed the establishment of sustainable partnerships, use of specialist advice, and integration of activities into ongoing formal training for early childhood workers. Complex issues also emerged from the key informant interviews regarding the challenges of limited funding, high staff turnover, changing governance structures, lack of high level leadership and unclear communication strategies. The Community Capacity Index provided further evidence that the project implementation network achieved a moderate level of capacity.
Romp & Chomp increased the capacity of organisations, settings and services in the Geelong community to support healthy eating and physical activity for young children. Despite this success there are important learnings from this mixed methods evaluation that should inform current and future community-based public health and health promotion initiatives.
Trial Registration Number
PMCID: PMC2941686  PMID: 20807410

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