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The Johns Hopkins POE Total Worker Health® Center (POE Center)

Putting Our People First: Prioritizing Public Health Worker Well-Being

In the face of political polarization and pushback, employees at public health agencies are experiencing stress, burnout, and an exodus from the field. To advance worker well-being and retention, we are collaborating with public health agencies and partner organizations to foster supportive work environments and cultures in state and local public health agencies. Explore resources and learn more. 

Putting Our People First: A Discussion Guide for Public Health Agencies to Advance Worker Well-Being

Putting Our People First discussion guide logo

This annotated discussion guide provides a pathway for dialogue between public health agency leadership and staff to identify and work to address worker needs. The discussion guide is customizable for use in any agency, division, unit, or team that is interested in fostering a culture of worker well-being!

Partner Spotlight

Learn more about what our partners are doing to support the public health workforce.


ASTHO's PH-HERO initiative aims to support and advance workforce well-being and retention.



PHAB offers various tools for transformation to assess adequate staffing to assure sufficient workforce capacity and supports. 


The de Beaumont Foundation and ASTHO’s PH WINS measures the strengths and gaps of the government public health workforce to inform future investments in funding, training, recruitment, and retention


NACCHO’s Joy in Work Toolkit aims to address retention challenges and foster joy in the workplace.


Toolkits & Trainings

U.S. Surgeon General 

The U.S. Surgeon General’s advisory on building a thriving health workforce.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Guidance for public health leaders on understanding and preventing burnout among public health workers:

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

In this webcast, leading U.S. public health experts will discuss the implications of attacks on scientists and public health officials. 

Programs & Frameworks

U.S. Surgeon General 

The 30-page Surgeon General’s Framework for Workplace Mental Health and Well-Being offers a foundation that workplaces can build upon.

Thrive at Work

The Thrive at Work Framework is a comprehensive framework that provides organizations with a clear set of evidence-based strategies to address the full spectrum of mental health.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Total Worker Health® is defined as policies, programs, and practices that integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with promotion of injury and illness-prevention efforts to advance worker well-being.

Johns Hopkins POE Center

The Johns Hopkins P.O.E. Total Worker Health® Center (POE Center) was established to focus on work-related mental health issues and solutions.

BSPH FlagIt 

The FlagIt report and response system was developed to inform the development of other potential support systems for employees and researchers receiving public harassment.


National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Worker Well-Being Questionnaire (NIOSH WellBQ) provides an integrated assessment of worker well-being across multiple spheres, including individuals’ quality of working life, circumstances outside of work, and physical and mental health status.

Employer Assistance and Resource Network

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) has distilled leading mental wellness practices into a checklist with four pillars, also known as the “4 A’s”: Awareness, Accommodations, Assistance, and Access.

General Resources


Synthesis and summary to identify and understand key components of worker well-being, initiatives and programs in U.S. public health departments.


The following resources have been identified for potential adaptation and use by local, tribal, or state public health entities to advance employee mental health and well-being.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Recognize the symptoms of stress in yourself and others.

de Beaumont Foundation

Blog post on prioritizing public health worker safety, mental health, and well-being.

Faculty Spotlights

Woman with curly hair, wearing green sweater and pearls

Beth Resnick

Assistant Dean for Practice and Training
Practice Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management

Beth Resnick, DrPH, MPH ’95, is a public health system and services researcher with a focus on the public health infrastructure, finance and workforce. Dr. Resnick led the formation of the STOP! coalition to address threats and harassment against the public health workforce during the height of the COVID pandemic and has now expanded this work to   advance  public health agency cultures that support employee well-being and retention.

Paulani Mui

Associate Director, Office of Public Health Practice and Training
Assistant Practice Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management

Paulani Mui, MPH ’15, is a practice-oriented educator and researcher focusing on public health systems and infrastructure and workforce capacity. Her research includes prevention of public health worker harassment and advancing worker well-being and retention.