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Local health officials outline priorities and concerns for new year

Doctor's coat
Pixabay | CC BY 2.0

A Michigan organization says the state has seen around a third of its public health officers leave their jobs within the last three years

The Michigan Association for Local Public Health is blaming a combination of scheduled retirements, comparatively lower wages, and fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic for the exits.

Executive director Norm Hess says the field needs to attract new talent.

“We are in conversations frequently with schools of public health as well as even community colleges. You know, not many people wake up in the sixth grade and say, ‘When I grow up, I want to be a public health officer.’ Because they just don’t know what that means.”

Public health officers lead local health departments and put policies in place to address community needs.

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