Measuring Awareness of the Impacts of Change in the Public Health Workforce: A Precursory Step in Promoting a Shared Vision Via Cross-Sectoral Collaboration
Public health is currently undergoing significant changes and becoming increasingly dependent on one another to achieve their missions. The restructuring is forcing public health stakeholders to reexamine their present and future roles. This case study examines a local health department’s staff and its awareness of the department’s epidemiology program as a practical framework for thinking about and implementing cross-sectoral collaboration. An OEB (Office of Epidemiology and Biostatistics) Awareness Survey was developed and administered to 492 participants at the Allegheny County Health Department. Cross-sectional analysis examined associations between demographics, behavioral and cultural factors, and help seeking (attempts at collaboration). Results indicate an awareness deficiency for the epidemiology program and collaboration attempts among employees (only 54% of respondents were familiar with the OEB, and only 8% could identify an OEB employee). Strong implications suggest that collaborative relationships can help public health professionals deal with the challenges they face in today’s turbulent environment.