What would a new training program for local health officials look like? It has been 11 years since the end of Survive and Thrive, NACCHO’s signature training program for local health department leaders with two or fewer years of experience. Survive and Thrive gave them the knowledge and skills needed to be successful, and although the program ended, the needs are even more urgent today: public health workforce levels have been declining for decades, exacerbated by the aftermath of the Great Recession and COVID-19, and 20% of the overall workforce are planning to retire within the next five years, creating a potential progressive loss of experienced local public health practitioners.
A new Survive and Thrive in today’s public health environment would look different than it did when the program began in 2008, and the necessary knowledge and skills for new local health officers has been shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, in considering whether and how to restart the program, a formative evaluation is critical to identify how to best implement it for stakeholders – in this case, the new local health officers and those who work with them. NACCHO and the Center for Public Health Systems at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health partnered to conduct an exploratory mixed-methods study to assess the content areas and learning formats that would be most effective to develop the skills necessary for success by new local health officers and examined the feasibility and desirability of a new training program. Read the report and find out the results here.