Legislative Prospectus: Public Health Workforce

January 19, 2022

Public health worker in PPE administering a COVID testYears of underinvestment in public health left a fragile public health system to respond to COVID-19 in early 2020. The public health workforce overcame extraordinary conditions responding to the pandemic—working long hours, risking exposure to the disease, and withstanding threats and abuse from the public—which negatively effected the mental health of many public health workers. A Spring 2021 survey of over 26,000 public health workers found that 52.8% experienced symptoms of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or suicidal ideation.

States and territories are considering several policies to support the public health workforce, including efforts to increase the number of public health workers, strengthening protections for workers privacy and safety, and ways to sustain public health funding.

Download the prospectus