Understanding and Preventing Burnout among Public Health Workers: Guidance for Public Health Leaders

coffee mug with arm extending out holding sign which reads help

Image by tommy/Getty Images

Managers and supervisors can play a big role in reducing and preventing burnout. Public health workers experiencing burnout often feel exhausted and cynical. Working in a distressing environment can strain a person’s physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. Workers with burnout are more likely to experience mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. Burnout can also impact employee retention. Workers experiencing burnout may be less engaged at work and choose to leave their job or public health altogether.

Improving workplace policies and practices is the best way to address burnout. While individual-level solutions like self-care and resilience training may help, making organizational changes is necessary. For this reason, managers and supervisors must take action to address this issue.

In this online training, public health supervisors can learn strategies to prioritize employee health and well-being and prevent burnout.

  • The training is modular, so public health supervisors can fit it into their busy schedules.
  • Each module takes about 15-20 minutes. Modules are organized into four 1-hour units, for a total of four hours.
  • Unit 1 is available now; the rest are coming soon!
  • Continuing education credit is available at no cost.

This training is for:

  • Managers and supervisors in state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments
  • Senior leaders, managers, and supervisors in public health-serving organizations
Meet the Instructors

Dr. Chris Cunningham is a Guerry Professor and UC Foundation Professor of Psychology at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC), where he directs the top-ranked MS degree program in Industrial-Organizational and Occupational Health Psychology and the Healthy and Optimal Work research and applications lab. Chris also holds an adjunct clinical assistant professor position for research and evaluation at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine-Chattanooga and is the Chief Science Officer for Logi-Serve (a provider of science-based talent assessments and talent management technologies).

For nearly 20 years, Chris has taught seminars and presented workshops addressing: (a) organizational and occupational health psychology research and applications, (b) applied psychological consulting skills and ethics, (c) organizational development, design, and change, (d) career development, and (e) research and statistical methods. Chris is the co-author (with colleague, Kristen Black) of the Essentials of Occupational Health Psychology text, published through Routledge/Taylor & Francis in 2021

Dr. Kristen Jennings Black is an associate professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She received her PhD in industrial-organizational psychology with a specialization in occupational health psychology from Clemson University. She has conducted research in occupational health for over 10 years, with a focus on worker health, workplace stress, and supportive resources. She has a specific interest in workplace climates and perceptions around stress and recovery. She has published empirical studies in many occupational health journals and co-authored, Essentials of Occupational Health Psychology, a text which provides an empirical overview and practical applications of the field. In addition, she is involved in working with local companies in her community to support worker health and is involved in organizations such as the Society for Occupational Health Psychology and Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Continuing Education Information

Target Audience

Public health professionals (all varieties, especially supervisors and managers)

Additional Information

ORIGINATION DATE: April 26, 2023

RENEWAL DATE: April 26, 2025

EXPIRATION DATE: April 26, 2025

HARDWARE/SOFTWARE: Computer Hardware; Internet Connection; Browser



FORMAT: This activity is Web on Demand.

CONTACT INFORMATION: Office for Total Worker Health ®, (404) 498-2581

Jointly Accredited Provider logo

In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

CME: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

CNE: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designates this activity for 1.0 nursing contact hours.

CEU: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is authorized by IACET to offer 0.1 CEU’s for this program.

CECH: Sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a designated provider of continuing education contact hours (CECH) in health education by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. This program is designated for Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES®) and/or Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES®) to receive up to 1.0 total Category I continuing education contact hours. Maximum advanced level continuing education contact hours available are 1.0. Continuing Competency credits available are 1.0 . CDC provider number 98614.

For Certified Public Health Professionals (CPH)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a pre-approved provider of Certified in Public Health (CPH) recertification credits and is authorized to offer 1.0 CPH recertification credits for this program.

DISCLOSURE: In compliance with continuing education requirements, all planners and presenters must disclose all financial relationships, in any amount, with ineligible companies during the previous 24 months as well as any use of unlabeled product(s) or products under investigational use.

CDC, our planners, and content experts wish to disclose they have no financial relationship(s) with ineligible companies whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, reselling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.

CDC did not accept financial or in-kind support from ineligible companies for this continuing education activity.

Instructions for Obtaining Continuing Education (CE)

To receive continuing education (CE) for SCWD4656- Understanding and Preventing Burnout among Public Health Workers please visit TCEO and follow these 9 Simple Steps before April 26, 2025.

  • Complete the activity
  • Complete the Evaluation at www.cdc.gov/GetCE
  • Pass the posttest at 75% at www.cdc.gov/GetCE

FEES: No fees are charged for CDC’s CE activities.