The numbers and variety of skilled specialized workers in the public health services reflect its importance to society. This is seldom appreciated when tax cuts are on the agenda and public health services are a target for staff reductions, although reduced funding may be justified when there is insufficient objective evidence of program success. Public health specialists require lengthy training, so financial cuts in training programs that lead to reduced output of trained professionals can take as long as a decade to produce critical shortages as those in existing posts retire or die, and equally long to correct when funding is restored. Formerly called “public health manpower,” the accurate and politically correct term “public health workforce” recognizes that females are in the majority in most branches of public health services.
Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.