The Editor’s Podcast: Harassment and the Mental Well-being of Local Public Health Professionals

The Editor’s Podcast with Dr. Lloyd F. Novick offers a closer look at the articles published in the latest issues of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice with guest appearances by authors, guest editors, and others.

Today, I am speaking with author Tim McCall about a new study published in a special issue of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, which highlights the findings of the Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey (PH WINS) 2021. “The Role of Harassment in the Mental Well-being of Local Public Health Professionals and Its Relationship with an Intent to Leave Their Organization During the COVID-19 Pandemic” by McCall and colleagues underscores the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on the public health workforce and the urgent need to reduce turnover and build a resilient workforce prepared for future emergencies. 

Dr. Tim McCall is Director of Research at the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), and a social scientist with 12 years of experience leading experimental and survey research and analytics, including nearly eight years on the health workforce. His research interests include workforce issues, equity, and well-being. In addition to his research at NAACHO, he is also a program director and faculty member in the Department of Clinical Research & Leadership at The George Washington University’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Prior to joining NACCHO’s R&E team, he was a researcher at American Academy of Physician Associates.

The authors examined data from the PH WINS 2021 and found that more than 15% of local health department staff experienced harassment during the pandemic. Such harassment is associated with poorer mental or emotional health and poses an increased risk of intent for staff to leave their agencies. Respondents who indicated they experienced harassment reported poorer mental or emotional health than those not experiencing harassment. Local public health professionals reporting harassment also had a higher risk of resigning from their current local health department — with many exiting the public health field altogether.

Listen to Our Podcast Conversation:

Read the article in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice:

Author Profile

Lloyd Novick
Lloyd F. Novick, MD, MPH is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Public Health at the Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University. Previously, he was chair of this Department. He has served as the Commissioner of Health and Secretary for Human Services of Vermont, Director of Health Services for Arizona, and Director of the Office of Public Health for New York State. Previous academic positions include Professor and Director of the Preventive Medicine Program for SUNY Upstate Medical University, Professor and Chair of Epidemiology at the University of Albany School of Public Health, and Clinical Professor and Director of the Teaching Program in Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Vermont, College of Medicine. He is the Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.

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