Research shows harassment prompted some health officials to resign during pandemic – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Harassment by health officials increased during the early stages of the pandemic, prompting some of them to leave their positions or resign, a new study finds.

The study, Pandemic-Related Workplace Violence and Its Impact on Public Health Officials, March 2020 to January 2021, was conducted by the School of Public Health. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg. It identified 1,499 unique reports of harassment at local health departments in the United States between March 2020 and January 2021.

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Research shows that 57% of local public health departments surveyed have been targets of harassment.

It shows that 222 public health officials left their positions during that time period.

According to research, more than a third of people who have left their jobs (36%) said they have experienced some form of harassment.

The results of the study were published online today and they are included in the American Journal of Public Health, according to health officials.

It provides scope and context for the departures of public health officials during the first 11 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created significant challenges for public health departments.

According to health officials, many people threatened and harassed them around this time, which resulted in decreased job satisfaction and burnout.

Little is known about the new virus, and initially there was no treatment or vaccine available to everyone to protect them from it.

The study’s findings highlight important concerns about the safety and well-being of workers in health departments and in the public health system – especially in times of crisis and discord. health officials said.

Beth Resnick, associate dean of Practice and Training and senior scientist in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Bloomberg School.

The US public health system is built on a network of local and state officials. Some estimates suggest there are more than 2,500 state and local public health departments across the United States, according to the study.

Workforce care needs to be a fundamental component of public health infrastructure, says Resnick.

The researchers who compiled the study gathered from two main sources of information: media reports and a survey of local public health departments conducted between October 2020 and February 2021 by the National Association of County and Cities Health (NACCHO).

According to health officials, the survey identified 1,499 instances of harassment.

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The researchers also reviewed additional documents, including public health department newsletters, social media accounts, local health board meeting minutes, and personal communications with stakeholders. journalists and representatives of the Ministry of Health.

They analyzed media responses from 583 local US agencies to the NACCHO survey.

More than half of the 335 local health departments that responded to the survey (57%) have identified unique reports of harassment directed at leadership or staff, health officials said.

Most of that harassment happened on social media platforms. The data showed that 296 of the 583 local health departments reported harassment on social media.

Of those 296 reports of harassment, 194 of them specifically targeted local health department leaders, according to health officials.

The researchers analyzed media reports of threatened departures or actual departures of local and state health officials. They know that out of 256 cases, there are 120 cases of resignation.

Departures spanned 42 states and were attended by 48 state health department officials and 174 local health department officials.

Health officials say the harassment and departures of the researchers continued after the study period.

To understand the impact of harassment and abandonment on the public health workforce, the team identified five common themes in the experience of health officials: feelings of being underappreciated, not being supported, despised, caught up in politics and disillusioned.

The study’s authors suggest that training public health officials in how to respond to political and social conflict could help them reduce the level of harassment they receive during a crisis. major health crisis.

According to the authors, this training should cover political and social conflict, improve professional support systems, support staff, invest in infrastructure and long-term public health workers , and establish sound reporting systems, according to the authors.

“No public health professional should feel undervalued, unsafe, or question the fundamental mission and purpose of their work,” Resnick said. “We need to do better and prioritize the welfare and safety of our workers by implementing policies to reduce vandalism, boycotts and intimidation to support workers and leaders. this key.”

“Pandemic-Related Workplace Violence and Its Impact on Public Health Officials, March 2020 to January 2021” written by Julie Ward, Elizabeth Stone, Paulani Mui and Beth Resnick.

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The research was supported by the Lipitz School of Public Health Policy Award through the Johns Hopkins Institute for Health and Social Policy; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and National Institute of Mental Health.. Research shows harassment prompted some health officials to resign during pandemic – CBS Baltimore

Jake Nichol

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