Year of Publication



Public Health

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Dr. Sarah Wackerbarth

Committee Member

Dr. Michael Cull

Committee Member

Dr. Kathi Harp


The purpose of this project was to examine the Region IV State Health Agency – Central Office workforce in regards to retention and reasons for leaving; workforce satisfaction levels and how that influences retention; and training gaps among non-supervisors. An extensive review of existing literature was completed and showed that since the great recession, there has been a loss of 40,000 positions at state and local governmental health agencies (Castrucci & Lupi, 2020). In addition, from 2008 to 2019, there has been a 16 percent decline in the national public health workforce, and 47 percent of public health workers plan to leave or retire in the next five years (de Beaumont Foundation, 2017).

Results showed that the Region IV SHA-CO employees are predominately white (55.83%), female (81.25%), and between the ages of 31 and 50 (46.39%). Within Region IV SHA-CO, 30.65% of all employees were considering leaving within the next year and the top reason for leaving was pay (60.84%). Supervisors were also significantly more likely to report that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted their decision to leave or stay compared to non-supervisors, 21.10% versus 16.75%, respectively (p=0.037). Job and organizational satisfaction remain high among Region IV SHA-CO employees. However, employees that fall within the groups of two or more races, between the ages of 31 to 50 years, and had an agency tenure of 6 to 10 years all reported lower average levels of job, organization, and pay satisfaction. The workforce environment item with the lowest overall job satisfaction mean was “My supervisor treats me with respect.” (M=4.47). Followed closely by “My supervisor and I have a good working relationship.” (M=4.49). Lastly, the top two training items among Region IV SHA-CO non-supervisors were related to budget and financial analysis.

This research discussed the implications of each result and the impact it has on the Region IV SHA-CO workforce and its ability to serve its surrounding communities. The analysis also provides guidance for where Region IV SHA-CO public health practitioners and leaders can implement best practices for improving employee retention, satisfaction, and training based on the needs of the workforce.

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