Enhancing the maryland environmental public health workforce: A collaborative approach

Beth Resnick, Joanna Zablotsky, Olivia Farrow, Rodney Glotfelty, Philip Heard, Susan Kelly, Clifford Mitchell, Frances Phillips, Thomas Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The practice of environmental public health (EPH) - ensuring food, water, and sanitation protection - is the traditional cornerstone of public health. Demands on the EPH infrastructure have broadened, however, to involve issues such as chemical and physical hazards in the environment, the role of the built environment in health, and disaster preparedness. Maryland, with its varied geography and population densities, faces many of the EPH challenges that are present elsewhere throughout the nation. A strong and stable EPH workforce is an essential ingredient in addressing these challenges. Yet significant workforce obstacles exist, including recruitment shortfalls, inability to retain qualified staff, impending retirements, inadequate training opportunities, insufficient compensation, and the absence of a robust career advancement pathway. Recognizing the importance of EPH protection for Maryland's future, state and local agencies and academic institutions are working collaboratively to address EPH challenges. Much progress has been made: Communication and interaction between state and local agencies have been strengthened; practitioners and academic institutions have collaborated to improve EPH training opportunities; and workforce development efforts have been made to address recruitment and retention challenges. Although there have been significant accomplishments, much work remains. It is imperative that these efforts continue and that they be supported at all levels of government. Coordination and communication, as well as the training, recruitment, and retention of the workforce, are critical to a strong and responsive EPH infrastructure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-36
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of environmental health
Volume70
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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