Fewer public health workers were employed in 2000 than in 1980 and estimates show 23% of the workforce will retire by 2012, according to the Association of Schools of Public Health. The ratio of public health workers to the U.S. population fell to 158 per 100,000 at the beginning of the decade from 220 per 100,000 in 1980. To boost the workforce to 1980 levels, public health schools would need to increase capacity by three times in the next 12 years, the association estimated.
The trade group called for increased funding for student financial aid, loan repayment and loan forgiveness and greater recruiting efforts among doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. Also needed are a national agency to coordinate U.S. public health aid abroad and a more centralized effort to regularly estimate domestic public health workforce supply and demand, the association said. Read the report. -- by Melanie Evans
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