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  1. Karnik, Harshada PhD, MS, MPP
  2. Oldfield-Tabbert, Kari JD
  3. Kirkland, Chelsey PhD, MPH, CHW
  4. Orr, Jason M. MPH
  5. Leider, Jonathon P. PhD


Context: The roles and responsibilities of local health departments (LHDs), as well as the hiring challenges they face, have changed since the pandemic started.


Objectives: To explore (1) staffing needs and priorities of LHDs in Minnesota, and (2) financial and community-level factors impeding health departments from maintaining optimal staffing.


Design, Setting, and Participants: A cross-sectional online survey was administered via Qualtrics in July 2022 to city and county health departments in Minnesota (97% participation rate). It included both open- and close-ended questions concerning staffing needs and priorities of LHDs and challenges to hiring after the pandemic started.


Results: Staffing priorities of LHDs included public health nurses, community health workers, and health planners/researchers/analysts. Hiring concerns included creating new permanent positions, offering competitive salaries, and filling open positions. Inadequate funds made it difficult to create new permanent positions and offer competitive salaries. External factors such as lack of affordable or reliable childcare, housing, and transportation also contributed to hiring challenges.


Conclusions: There is a need to increase staffing levels of the Minnesota public health enterprise by filling vacant positions and creating new positions. Increasing the public health workforce requires adequate sustainable funding along with creative solutions.