Sep 22, 2021

Defining Our Vision and Mission

Brittany Giles-Cantrell, MPH

de Beaumont Foundation

Brittany Giles-Cantrell is a Senior Program Officer at the de Beaumont Foundation, where she leads a portfolio of partnerships and programs to strengthen investments in public health systems, policies, and practices that center health and racial equity.

Tiffany Clarke, MPH, MPP

FSG

Tiffany Clarke is a Director at FSG, offering comprehensive support in the design and launch of the National Consortium for Public Health Workforce Development, a collective impact effort.

When the Steering Committee of the National Consortium for Public Health Workforce Development first met on October 19, 2020, they picked up the baton from the Consortium’s Founders Committee and were ready to run.

The de Beaumont Foundation had convened the Founders Committee in 2020 to relaunch the inaugural 2017 National Consortium out of a desire within the public health community to coordinate the many robust efforts to improve workforce development across the country. At the conclusion of their 2017 convening, the Founders Committee determined that the public health workforce would be better able to ensure the well-being of everyone in this country if it was better supported to address the underlying issues hindering their capacity to deliver public health services. 

As they undertook the work, the strain on the public health workforce grew under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic — adding a greater sense of urgency to their efforts. The task to explore and define those underlying issues — and to determine what the Consortium could do to affect them — belonged to the Steering Committee.

Since that first meeting, the Consortium developed a Steering Committee that, through reflective internal discussions and intentional consultation with the broader public health community, crafted and shaped vision and mission statements to provide the North Star to guide the collective impact work of the National Consortium.

Vision: The public health workforce is an effective, trusted partner to communities in addressing the social determinants of health and achieving health equity to create a nation where everyone can thrive.

Mission: We collaborate to strengthen and support the public health workforce through research, public engagement, advocacy, convening, and by creating learning opportunities.

For the vision statement, the intention from the Steering Committee was to be aspirational yet realistic, positioning the ultimate outcome as a shared goal of the workforce and the communities in which they work. The Committee also wanted to ensure that the vision statement centered the needs of the public health workforce and the communities they serve to improve health equity. They will do what needs to be done to achieve the vision; the rest of us must ensure they have the capacity and resources to do so.

Because the Steering Committee wanted the vision statement to be clear about who within the public health workforce would be the focus of the Consortium’s actions, a supporting statement was added:

To advance this vision, we focus on ensuring that the state, Tribal, local, and territorial public health workforce reflects diverse backgrounds, works in inclusive and supportive work environments, and is skilled, resourced, and supported.

If successful, the policies and practices pursued could spread, and the entire workforce would reflect the aspirations put forth in the vision.

While most groups who use a collective impact approach to achieve a common agenda have a vision statement, not all create a mission statement as well. However, the Steering Committee wanted to clarify how the National Consortium and its participating organizations would specifically contribute to achieving the vision. It’s fine to say that we will collaborate, they thought, but we also need to say what we are going to do together.

The Steering Committee also wanted the mission statement to elucidate who needed to contribute to the collaborative process, to communicate that it was necessary to go beyond the usual suspects and be inclusive of partners from other sectors who could contribute new perspectives and inspire innovative thinking and strategies.

Change requires the actions of many, including state, Tribal, local, and territorial public health leaders; universities and training providers; philanthropic organizations; federal agencies; policymakers; the public health workforce; partners in healthcare and other sectors; and community members. In addition to influencing others, we also commit to transforming our own work to advance our shared strategy. 

In other words, the public health community will not achieve the Consortium’s mission and attain the vision alone, but it will require the collective efforts of cross-sectoral partners to create lasting change.

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