Public Health Workforce
A collaborative study led by Dr. Jeff Jones, assistant professor of Health Policy and Management, and including Mr. Nathan Walker, program coordinator for the Center for Addiction Recovery at the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health (JPHCOPH) at Georgia Southern University analyzed Training Finder Real-time Affiliate Integrated Network (TRAIN), the most widely used public health workforce training system in the United States, to describe the public health workforce and characteristics of individual public health workers. The researchers from JPHCOPH and the Public Health Foundation extracted self-reported demographic data of 405,095 learners registered in the TRAIN online system in 2012. Mirroring the results of other public health workforce studies, TRAIN learners are disproportionately women, college-educated, and White compared with the populations they serve. TRAIN learners live in every state and half of all zip codes, with a concentration in states whose public health departments are TRAIN affiliates. TRAIN learners’ median age is 46 years, and one third of TRAIN learners will reach retirement age in the next 10 years. TRAIN data provide a limited but useful profile of public health workers and highlight the utility and limitations of using TRAIN for future research.