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AKEN: Rhonda Johnson: Health Workforce Training Needs - Part One
06 Dec 2013 11:00 AM
Hello Fellow AKEN members:
I’m Rhonda Johnson, and for those of you I haven’t had the pleasure to meet, I am pleased to be part of this still new network with you! I am also Chair of the Department of Health Sciences at UAA, and have been Program Director of our statewide, distance-delivered graduate program in public health since 2004. We have program evaluation courses in both our undergraduate minor in public health and in our graduate MPH degree program. For more info on our programs, see
I thought some of you might be interested in some highlights from a regional public health workforce survey that was recently conducted in partnership with the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (NWCPHP) based at University of Washington. I serve on the Regional Network Steering Committee for the NWCPHP.
This post is the first of a three part series for the month of December:
Introduction and Methods – December 6
Description of Respondents – December 13
Key Findings from Alaska – December 20
THE NORTHWEST CENTER: NWCPHP is one of 38 public health training centers (PHTC) across the country funded by the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA). One of the four legislative mandates for PHTCs is to conduct a needs assessment to develop training for the public health practice community. The purpose of this training needs assessment is to identify the regional interests and needs of public health practitioners in the six-state region of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming, including practitioners in tribal health settings. For more information on NWCPHP see
Note that they have a section of their website devoted to Evaluation, including program evaluation tips, training evaluation tips, training needs assessment tips, drill and exercise evaluation tips and online training, plus additional tools and resources!
THE WORKFORCE TRAINING SURVEY METHODS
The questionnaire was developed by the evaluation team at NWCPHP with input from local and state partners. The focus areas included in the training needs assessment were based on the Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals. NWCPHP worked closely with the Regional Network Steering Committee and other practice partners to collect names and email addresses, coordinate announcements to encourage participation, and disseminate the survey to the public health workforce in the six-state region. To distribute the survey to public health professionals in Alaska, the NWCPHP partnered with the State Department of Health and Social Services, the Alaska Public Health Association, and University of Alaska Anchorage.
Information about the survey and a link to participate were featured on the NWCPHP website homepage from February 5th to March 1st, 2013. An email link to take the survey was also sent to personnel from the Alaska public health nursing professionals. The instrument included questions about employment, specific competencies, social media, mentoring and questions related to training modality preferences and barriers. The instrument also included questions specific to supervisors to assess interest in training programs, which were defined as multiple sessions over an extended period of time, and basic demographic information. The report summarizes training needs assessment results from Alaska respondents. The results presented are from a convenience sample rather than a random sample, and are therefore not necessarily representative of the public health workforce in our region, but rather of the 118 people who completed the questionnaire. NOTE, however, that this is more than twice the number of Alaskan public health professionals who participated in the last regional workforce assessment about five years ago, and all regions of the state were represented in the sample.
Next is Part Two: DESCRIPTION OF RESPONDENTS