A strategic approach to public health workforce development and capacity building

Hazel D. Dean*, Ranell L. Myles, Crystal Spears-Jones, Audriene Bishop-Cline, Kevin A. Fenton

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    In February 2010, CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), and Tuberculosis (TB) Prevention (NCHHSTP) formally institutionalized workforce development and capacity building (WDCB) as one of six overarching goals in its 2010-2015 Strategic Plan. Annually, workforce team members finalize an action plan that lays the foundation for programs to be implemented for NCHHSTP's workforce that year. This paper describes selected WDCB programs implemented by NCHHSTP during the last 4 years in the three strategic goal areas: (1) attracting, recruiting, and retaining a diverse and sustainable workforce; (2) providing staff with development opportunities to ensure the effective and innovative delivery of NCHHSTP programs; and (3) continuously recognizing performance and achievements of staff and creating an atmosphere that promotes a healthy work-life balance. Programs have included but are not limited to an Ambassador Program for new hires, career development training for all staff, leadership and coaching for mid-level managers, and a Laboratory Workforce Development Initiative for laboratory scientists. Additionally, the paper discusses three overarching areas - employee communication, evaluation and continuous review to guide program development, and the implementation of key organizational and leadership structures to ensure accountability and continuity of programs. Since 2010, many lessons have been learned regarding strategic approaches to scaling up organization-wide public health workforce development and capacity building. Perhaps the most important is the value of ensuring the high-level strategic prioritization of this issue, demonstrating to staff and partners the importance of this imperative in achieving NCHHSTP's mission.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)S288-S296
    JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    Publication of this article was supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an Agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, under the Cooperative Agreement with the Public Health Foundation and University of Michigan Center of Excellence in Public Health Workforce Studies (CDC RFA-OT13-1302). The ideas expressed in the articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of CDC.


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