State health agencies report that more than half of their public health workforce is eligible for retirement in the next few years. Many of these professionals are highly skilled and experienced public health nutritionists. Agency leaders are challenged to fill these nutritionists’ very large shoes when they retire.
To address this emerging need, ASTPHND is offering members tools and resources to help keep skilled professionals moving into public health leadership positions. We call this process succession management. Succession management is a long term strategic initiative that ensures that the right staff are in the right jobs at the right times. The goal of this process is to keep state public health agencies effective by establishing a plan to develop and replace key staff over time. Succession management focuses both on succession planning and leadership development to maintain a pool of talented staff that can move into positions of greater responsibility.
On this page you will find resources that define succession management and why it is important, a public health nutrition workforce survey, a template for a leadership training program and advice from colleagues about their agencies' succession management strategies. The leadership training program is from the Wisconsin WIC program. Go to Succession Management for ASTPHND Members – Part II and Part III to access all the materials from Wisconsin WIC's Nutrition Leadership Series. You can also access Wisconsin WIC's training materials directly from their website.
In June 2011, the Americal Public Health Association released a new issue brief, The Affordable Care Act's Public Health Workforce Provisions: Opportunities and Challenges. This new report summarizes the current challenges facing the public health workforce today and the provisions of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 that address those challenges, including measures that enhance the supply and training of the public health workforce. The issue brief also provides an update on the implementation and funding of those provisions to date.
Another valuable resource on the topic are the audio transcripts from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials' (ASTHO) 2010 State Public Health Workforce Summit, held on May 25 and 26. Speakers focused on new strategies for recruiting and maintaining a quality public health workforce as well as emerging issues affecting the state public health workforce. This diverse group of panelists provided unique strategies and case examples about human resource issues from multiple perspectives. You can access the audio archives on the ASTHO workforce webpage.
The Journal of the American Dietetic Association has an informative article in its July 2010 issue on developing successful mentoring relationships. Mentoring promising staff to build their leadership and management skills is a critical piece in retaining valuable employees. The article is "Mentoring 101: Building a Mentoring Relationship" by Ryan Lipscomb, a Journal editor, and freelance writer Susie An. The authors discuss the importance of finding the right mentor. They outline the roles of both mentor and mentee and the importance of defining expectations for the mentoring relationship.
For information on salary trends, the American Medical Association's ranking of healthcare professionals' salaries shows registered dietitians' salaries much more favorable than those of registered nurses, with RD's salaries starting in the upper third of health professions. You can find additional information is in The American Dietetic Association’s September 7 Eat Right Weekly and in the ADA’s 2009 Compensation and Benefits Survey of the Dietetics Profession.
In addition to the information posted above, you may also want to check out the Health Workforce Information Center. The Center's website provides information to help health professionals around the nation develop strategies to meet future workforce demands. The website features events and training, organizations, funding, news, updates and more. You can receive customized assistance, subscribe to a monthly e-newsletter, and suggest additional resources for the site.