46% public health workers left their jobs in last 5 years

A recent study found nearly half of all U.S. public health workers in state and local agencies left their jobs in the last five years.

The study, published in March in Health Affairs, compared public health agency staff lists from 2017 to 2021. Researchers surveyed employees to determine intent to leave compared with actual departure. The study found 46 percent of workers left their jobs in the time frame, and three-quarters of those were 35 and younger or had tenures of five years or less.

If the trend continues, researchers estimated that more than 100,000 staff, or half of the governmental public health workforce, will leave by 2025.

"Even though we've had so many people already leave, we still have 40 percent-plus of the workforce saying, 'I'm thinking about leaving,'" lead author Jonathon Leider, PhD, of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, told MedPage Today. "These are the people that are more educated in public health science than ever before, in pandemic crisis management than ever before. How do you replace people like that?"

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