Survey: Public Health Employees Eager to Address Racism as A Public Health Crisis

Oct 17, 2023
  • Description

As the providers of essential public health services, the state and local government public health workforce is uniquely positioned to take on the root causes of structural racism in communities nationwide. This research brief analyzing data from the 2021 Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey (PH WINS) provides the first exploration of government public health employees' views on addressing racism as a public health crisis, how much they have been involved in such efforts, and the resources and supports they believe they need to take on racial justice work within public health agency contexts.

Key findings:

  • Nearly three-quarters (72%) of state and local government public health employees believe that addressing racism as a public health crisis should be part of their work within their agencies. However, only about 4 in 10 (39%) employees reported being highly engaged in such efforts.
  • A strong majority of public health agency executives (81%) believe that addressing racism should be part of their work.
  • Over half of the government public health workforce (58%) believes they lack adequate funding to address racism as a public health crisis. Nationally, employees reported needing more training, community engagement, and support from agency leadership to address racism in their work.