Factors Predicting Improved Performance in Local Public Health Agencies in North Carolina

Pilot study of public health workforce competency, agency capacity and performance

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health analyzed publicly available data from 1999 to 2004 to determine which factors are associated with improvement in nine performance indicators—such as family planning caseload and immunization and blood lead-screening rates—for local public health agencies in North Carolina.

Key Findings:

  • Experience of the agency workforce was a significant predictor for four of the nine performance indicators. Fewer less experienced staff and a larger number of more experienced staff predicted performance improvement.
  • The occupational composition of the agency workforce was a significant predictor of performance improvement. For example, employment of more non-health professionals was associated with improved family planning services, and employment of more environmental health staff was associated with improved blood lead-screening services.
  • Community socioeconomic characteristics, such as percentage of minority populations and median household income, were relevant for seven of the nine performance indicators.