competencies, public health practice, public health systems research, public health workforce, workforce development



  1. Edgar, Mark PhD
  2. Mayer, Jeffrey P. PhD
  3. Scharff, Darcell P. PhD


Measuring the competency of the public health workforce is critical to improving the functioning of the public health system. This study investigated the construct validity and reliability of the Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals, as promulgated by the Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health (COL). Principal component analysis, correlation and reliability analysis and known-groups comparisons were utilized. Results suggest omitting six items and moving six items to arrive at a 65 item, eight factor solution that corresponds with the eight COL domains. Additional evidence of construct validity was provided by known-groups comparisons that effectively discriminated between respondents known to differ on job type, education and practice experience. This study provides substantial support for the validity of the Core Competencies as a tool for assessing the competency of professionals in the public health workforce while suggesting some revisions to improve the measurement properties of the competency set.