Rural-Urban Differences in the Public Health Workforce: Findings From Local Health Departments in Three Rural Western States

American Journal of Public Health

Most local health departments or districts are small and rural; two thirds of the nation's 2832 local health departments serve populations smaller than 50,000 people. Rural local health departments have small staffs and slender budgets, yet they are expected to provide a wide array of services during a period when the healthcare system of which they are a part is undergoing change.

This study provided quantitative, population-based data on the supply and composition of the rural public health workforce in 3 extremely rural states: Alaska, Montana, and Wyoming. The study focused on the relative supply of personnel in the principal public health occupational categories, differences across states in staffing levels, and difficulties experienced in recruiting and retaining personnel.

WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
Roger Rosenblatt, Susan Casey, Mary Richardson