A dearth of organized, interdisciplinary research about the characteristics and functions of the nation's public health workforce hampers our ability to develop cohesive policy and to fully understand the effect of that workforce on the public health system and population health.
To address those issues, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, through its cooperative agreement with the Public Health Foundation, funded the Center of Excellence in Public Health Workforce Research and Policy (COEWRP) at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health in 2008. COEWRP works closely with the UK Center for Public Health Systems and Services Research (CPHSSR) established in 2006 with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. COEWRP also participates in the annual Keeneland Conference on Public Health Systems and Services Research by sponsoring a scientific session highlighting current public health workforce research and by convening its national advisory committee in conjunction with the conference. Several of the committee members lend expertise to presentations and expert panels at the conference.
In addition to providing a venue for presentation and discussion of public health workforce research, major activities of the Center include:
- Posting information about relevant databases on the National Library of Medicine website in order to make them more accessible to researchers and policymakers
- Providing technical assistance to, and promoting networking among, public health workforce researchers
- Coordinating COEWRP efforts with the Data Harmonization Workgroup
- Assessing data elements in TRAIN (the Public Health Foundation sponsored learning management system) as a resource for public health workforce research
- Leveraging activities with federal and practice partners
- Facilitating CDC's participation and leadership efforts to improve and encourage new public health workforce policy
- Collaborating with the Center of Excellence for Public Health Workforce Studies at the University of Michigan, established in 2009.