Introducing a National Literature Review and Innovative Environmental Scan on Engaging Military Veterans in the Public Health Workforce.

Veterans have long been a valued part of the American workforce, bringing unique skills, expertise and experiences to every industry they touch.

Recently, attention has turned to the ways in which Veterans help address critical public health and environmental health issues across the country. This highlights the need to better understand the experiences that Veterans hold when transitioning from military service to civilian life, and presents an opportunity to examine what supports Veterans need in order to access, advance and thrive within the civilian workforce at large, and within the public and environmental health sectors, specifically.

Leveraging extensive research and discussions with veterans across all branches of the military, teams led by Dr. Jasmine Ward, executive director of Black Ladies in Public HealthDr. Jennifer Edwards, director of Trailhead Institute Workforce Programs & Initiatives, and Dr. Ndidi Amutah-Onukagha, president and founder of Amaka Consulting and Evaluation Services, conducted an innovative environmental scan of Colorado and national literature review about engaging military veterans in the public health workforce.

In conjunction with the release of the Colorado environmental scan and national literature review on October 4, 2023, experts from Amaka Consulting and Evaluation Services, Black Ladies in Public Health and Trailhead Institute hosted a virtual Lunch & Learn session to share findings from their research and discuss strategies to support employers and the public health community with engaging military veterans in the public health workforce.

Taking Action From the Blueprint

In May 2023, Trailhead Institute and more than 20 statewide members from the Colorado Public Health Workforce Collaborative launched RESTORE: The Colorado Blueprint for Innovative Public Health Workforce Development. The Blueprint presents evidence-informed strategies to develop, advance, modernize, and transform the public health workforce.

The opportunity to explore strategies to engage military Veterans in the public health workforce emerged from the Blueprint priorities concerning equitable recruitment and attracting a diverse workforce into public health. The research conducted by Amaka Consulting and Evaluation Services, Black Ladies in Public Health, Informing Veterans and Dependents and Trailhead Institute reflects the advancement of opportunities identified within the Blueprint to aid in transforming our public health workforce and better support our Veteran communities.

These valuable workforce advancement efforts were funded by The Schultz Family Foundation. We are deeply grateful for their support and for the collaboration rooted in this initiative.