In 2009 the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) published desirable competencies for professionals in public health chronic disease programs. Assessing the training needs of these professionals is an important step toward providing appropriate training programs in chronic disease prevention and control competencies.
Conduct a survey of the chronic disease workforce in state and local health departments to identify professional training needs.
We conducted a cross sectional survey of state, territorial and local public health professionals who work in chronic disease programs, to identify their self-reported training needs, using the membership lists of three professional organizations that included practitioners in chronic disease public health programs.
The survey was national, used a convenience sample and was conducted in 2011.
The survey was developed using an algorithm to select anonymous participants from the membership lists of the NACDD, the Directors for Health Promotion and Education (DHPE), and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).
The survey included questions about professional background, chronic disease activities, confidence about skills, and needs for training.
The survey had 567 responses (38% response ratio). The majority of the respondents were female, non-Hispanic white, and aged 40 years or older. Respondents were not confident of their skills in health economics (38%) and technology and data management (23%). The most requested training topics were assessing the effects of policies, laws, and regulations (70%); and health economics (66%).
This survey included local, territorial, and state public health professionals who work in chronic disease programs. These reported training needs in quantitative measurement methods and policy-related topics suggest key subjects for future training and education curricula.