Historically, the governmental public health system has been underfunded and understaffed, requiring the workforce to do what they can within the existing infrastructure. To provide the Foundational Public Health Services (FPHS) to all communities public health systems need support to retain, recruit, and develop the workforce needed. Beginning in 2020, the PHAB Center for Innovation and the de Beaumont Foundation collaborated on the Staffing Up initiative to develop an estimate of staffing needed to perform the FPHS.

Research found that an additional 80,000 FTEs are needed in the United States to provide Foundational Capabilities.

In response, the Public Health Workforce Calculator was developed provide local health departments with a data-driven tool for workforce planning and to advocate for additional resources.

Public HealthWorkforce Calculator

The Public Health Workforce Calculator is a tool to help local health departments with workforce planning by utilizing information provided about the local health department to estimate the number of full-time equivalents (FTEs) needed to ensure the provision of the Foundational Public Health Services (FPHS). The Calculator is intended for use in decentralized public health systems with a jurisdiction size of 500,000 or less.

Tableau Testing Area

The Calculator has two user options, basic and advanced.

  • Basic users should use their best judgment to estimate approximately how many FTEs spend time contributing to each Foundational Capability and Foundational Area.
  • Advanced users are health departments who have participated in the FPHS related Capacity and Cost Assessments.

The User Guide should be used alongside the Calculator; it will help health departments determine which user option is best based on available data, provides definitions and details on how to enter data, and provides a template for advanced users to complete before inputting data into the Calculator.

Calculator Methodology

The Calculator is based on data collected from hundreds of local health departments (LHD) in four states (Colorado, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington) as well as data obtained from secondary sources, including the National Association of County and City Health Officials and Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (NACCHO) Profile surveys and the Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey (PH WINS**). The key data element from each data source was full-time equivalents. Specifically, each LHD in the dataset reported current FTEs for each Foundational Capability and each Foundational Area as defined in the FPHS framework. In addition to current FTEs, LHDs also estimated the number of FTEs needed to fully implement the FPHS (full implementation) in their jurisdiction. Both current and full implementation FTE information was limited to FTEs providing the Foundational Capabilities and Areas and did not include FTEs providing community-specific services.

The data model underpinning the calculator are statistical curves that estimate the number of FTEs needed to fully implement the FPHS as a function of jurisdictional population size. Additional detail on the underlying models used to estimate the FTEs needed to fully implement the FPHS in a local health department can be found in the 2021 Staffing Up full project report.

Acknowledgement: The Public Health Workforce Calculator would not have been possible without contributions from a range of public health practitioners and experts, including the Staffing Up Steering Committee; Staffing Up Research Advisory Committee [NR3]; Crow Insight, LLC; JP Leider Research and Consulting; Mac McCullough; Sieger Consulting SPC; Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, University of Washington; Singh Research and Consulting LLC; Valerie A. Yeager, LLC; UMN SPH Center for Public Health Systems; WE Public Health; de Beaumont Foundation; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support; PHAB Center for Innovation.



Staffing Up Webinar: Strengthening the Public Health Workforce for the Next Generation