Public health human resources: a comparative analysis of policy documents in two Canadian provinces

Date

2014-02-24

Authors

Regan, Sandra
MacDonald, Marjorie
Allan, Diane E
Martin, Cheryl
Peroff-Johnston, Nancy

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Human Resources for Health

Abstract

Background: Amidst concerns regarding the capacity of the public health system to respond rapidly and appropriately to threats such as pandemics and terrorism, along with changing population health needs, governments have focused on strengthening public health systems. A key factor in a robust public health system is its workforce. As part of a nationally funded study of public health renewal in Canada, a policy analysis was conducted to compare public health human resources-relevant documents in two Canadian provinces, British Columbia (BC) and Ontario (ON), as they each implement public health renewal activities. Methods: A content analysis of policy and planning documents from government and public health-related organizations was conducted by a research team comprised of academics and government decision-makers. Documents published between 2003 and 2011 were accessed (BC = 27; ON = 20); documents were either publicly available or internal to government and excerpted with permission. Documentary texts were deductively coded using a coding template developed by the researchers based on key health human resources concepts derived from two national policy documents. Results: Documents in both provinces highlighted the importance of public health human resources planning and policies; this was particularly evident in early post-SARS documents. Key thematic areas of public health human resources identified were: education, training, and competencies; capacity; supply; intersectoral collaboration; leadership; public health planning context; and priority populations. Policy documents in both provinces discussed the importance of an educated, competent public health workforce with the appropriate skills and competencies for the effective and efficient delivery of public health services. Conclusion: This policy analysis identified progressive work on public health human resources policy and planning with early documents providing an inventory of issues to be addressed and later documents providing evidence of beginning policy development and implementation. While many similarities exist between the provinces, the context distinctive to each province has influenced and shaped how they have focused their public health human resources policies.

Description

BioMed Central

Keywords

Public health human resources, Public health workforce, Policy analysis, Public health systems renewal, Public health systems research

Citation

Regan et al.: Public health human resources: a comparative analysis of policy documents in two Canadian provinces. Human Resources for Health 2014 12:13.