Emerging lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic about the decisive competencies needed for the public health workforce: A qualitative study

Osnat Bashkin*, Robert Otok, Lore Leighton, Kasia Czabanowska, Paul Barach, Nadav Davidovitch, Keren Dopelt, Mariusz Duplaga, Leah Okenwa Emegwa, Fiona MacLeod, Yehuda Neumark, Maya Peled Raz, Theodore Tulchinsky, Zohar Mor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The global COVID-19 crisis exposed the critical need for a highly qualified public health workforce. This qualitative research aimed to examine public health workforce competencies needed to face COVID-19 challenges and identify the gaps between training programs and the competency demands of real-world disasters and pandemics. Through a sample of thirty-one participant qualitative interviews, we examined the perspectives of diverse stakeholders from lead public health organizations in Israel. Grounded Theory was used to analyze the data. Six themes emerged from the content analysis: public health workforce's low professional status and the uncertain future of the public health workforce; links between the community and Higher Education institutions; the centrality of communication competencies; need to improve health promotion; the role of leadership, management, and partnership, and innovation in public health coherence. Increasing the attractiveness of the profession, professional and financial support, and improving the working conditions to ensure a sustainable and resilient PH system were deemed necessary. This paper describes and cultivates new knowledge and leadership skills among public health professionals, and lays the groundwork for future public health leadership preparedness programs.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number990353
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
StatePublished - 2 Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Bashkin, Otok, Leighton, Czabanowska, Barach, Davidovitch, Dopelt, Duplaga, Okenwa Emegwa, MacLeod, Neumark, Raz, Tulchinsky and Mor.


  • communication
  • competencies
  • health promotion
  • leadership
  • management
  • public health workforce


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