Minn. faces a major shortage of health care workersby Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A new report says Minnesota and the rest of the nation are facing a major shortage of public health physicians, nurses, epidemiolgists and health care educators.
The study by the Association of Schools of Public Health found that by 2020 the U.S. will need more than 250,000 additional public health workers.
The need comes at a time when more than 20 percent of the public health work force is expected to retire.
Julie Ring, Executive Director of the Local Public Health Association based in St. Paul, said it will be hard to replace so many public health workers, especially when wages haven't been keeping pace.
"We have a significant problem competing in the marketplace. Being government and competing for who are qualified to also work in the private sector we often have trouble being competitive when it comes to wages," Ring said.
Ring said some members of her association are experimenting with hiring bonuses and offering flexible schedules to better compete with health care jobs in the private sector.