A national study shows the number of nurses and other healthcare workers is going to be well short of the need, and an Iowa expert says there’s also a need for more training. James Marchant is the dean of the University of Iowa College of Public Health.
Marchant says it’s projected 250-thousand additional public health workers are going to be needed by 2020. He says there are also a lot of people working in public health that need formal training. Marchant says his school is working to give more training to public health workers as are other schools across the country.
Marchant says administrators in public health departments often have a public health degree, but he says there are a lot of administrators in rural public health departments that do not. Marchant says there’s a need for everyone to have some degree of public health training, so his school offers training for a certificate of public health. Marchant says there are a lot of reasons for the projected shortage of public health workers.
Marchant says public health needs have expanded due to health care reform, more attention on covering the uninsured, and the safety net for the healthcare system is public health, community healthcare systems. Marchant says 25-percent of the public healthcare workers are between the ages of 55 and 64, which is another factor in the upcoming shortage. Marchant says the growing need for healthcare workers will cause schools to do more to get the workers trained.
Marchant says the schools are going to have to be more innovative in the ways they train people, including using more distance learning. He says there are two workforce bills in Congress that focus public healthcare training that focus on paying for training and loan repayment support. Marchant says getting enough workers trained and getting them to stay in Iowa will be key factors in meeting the looming shortage.