New Report Highlights Wide Variety of COVID-19 Response Activities Undertaken by Infectious Disease Experts Across US, Policies Needed to Strengthen Infectious Disease Workforce
September 30, 2022 – A new report jointly produced by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the Infectious Diseases Society of America describes the value of infectious disease (ID) professionals in helping guide the US healthcare system and civil society through the COVID-19 pandemic and sheds light on critical policies needed to ensure such experts are well positioned to help America for decades to come.
The report, titled “Infectious Diseases Experts: America's Link Back to Everyday Life,” was informed by data collected through a quantitative survey and qualitative interviews with ID experts from across the country, including rural and urban areas, and from ID experts working across practice settings. During the pandemic, ID experts—including physicians, scientists, and public health practitioners—made critical contributions to response efforts through various activities in hospitals, public health departments, and communities, helping to keep people safe and prevent deaths. They made recommendations for vaccinations and therapeutics; advised schools, medical facilities, policymakers, and others; translated rapidly evolving high-level scientific information to provide accurate, timely, and understandable public information; and worked to strengthen the nation’s public health infrastructure.
The report also outlines challenges and recommendations to recruit, train, and retain the expert ID workforce the nation needs to maintain current responses and prepare for future crises. Key recommendations include:
- Relieving medical student debt
- Ensuring ID experts’ compensation is compensatory with their contributions
- Increasing funding for relevant federal agencies to hire, train, and retain ID professionals
- Reducing burnout by increasing the ID workforce and ensuring flexible employment benefits.
Read the full report here.