Assessing the Relationship between Local Health Department Workforce Diversity and Health Disparity Elimination Activities
Langeler, Christopher Jod
Despite myriad well-funded local and national initiatives to achieve health equity in the U.S., significant disparities in health between racial groups persist. Local health departments (LHDs) are one of the most salient organizations in efforts to eliminate racial health disparities. Organizational research has shown that characteristics of an organization’s workforce can affect its performance. However, little research has been conducted on the relationship between LHD workforce characteristics and LHD engagement in health disparity elimination (HDE) activities. This study uses regression analyses to assess the extent to which one organizational characteristic—racial diversity of the LHD workforce—is predictive of HDE activity among county-level LHDs nationwide. Results suggest that workforce racial diversity is a strong predictor of HDE activity among county-level LHDs. Findings presented here indicate a need for further research on organizational factors associated with HDE activity and promotion of racial health equity. Implications for such research as well as practical implications are discussed.