Supporting the Performance Improvement Workforce

CDC’s Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support (CSTLTS), in collaboration with several national nonprofit partners, offers a comprehensive portfolio of workforce development activities focused on performance improvement in public health. These activities include trainings, conferences, learning communities, and programs designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of public health professionals.

Public Health Improvement Training (PHIT)

CSTLTS, in partnership with the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI), hosts the annual Public Health Improvement Training (PHIT). PHIT offers interactive learning and skill-building sessions, with content designed for early, mid-career, and senior-level public health professionals. This one-of-a-kind opportunity provides hands-on learning experiences to health department leadership and performance improvement professionals. Attendees gain critical knowledge about performance improvement concepts through small workshops with national experts and peers, purposeful networking, and skill-building sessions with interactive activities.

  • Quality improvement
  • Performance management
  • Partnership development
  • Workforce development
  • Accreditation and reaccreditation
  • Community health assessment and improvement
  • Systems thinking
  • Social determinants of health

PHIT has traditionally been held in person and often reaches audiences of approximately 300 attendees.  In 2021, PHIT was held virtually for the first time and had over 650 registrants.  To learn more, visit the Public Health Improvement Training site.

“Thank you for a wonderful experience! This was my first PHIT conference and I was impressed by the virtual format and dynamic session leaders!”  — 2021 PHIT attendee

“The perfect niche conference for public health practitioners leading organization-wide efforts.”—2019 PHIT Attendee

Photo of Ariane Reeves, a public health advisor and public health nurse, giving opening remarks during PHIT 2019.

CDC staff, Ariane Reeves, speaking to PHIT 2019 attendees.

Dr. José Montero, CSTLTS Director, welcoming participants to the first virtual PHIT in June 2021.

Dr. José Montero, CSTLTS Director, welcoming participants to the first virtual PHIT in June 2021.

Public Health Performance Improvement Network (phPIN)

The Public Health Performance Improvement Network (phPIN) is a peer learning network that offers a forum for performance improvement professionals in public health to interact, access timely resources, and share emerging practices on topics related to performance improvement.

Participants of phPIN have access to an active listserv, a peer-led webinar series, and an online portal for networking and resource exchange. As of 2021, phPIN reaches approximately 800 performance improvement professionals in state, tribal, local, and territorial settings across the country.

phPIN also hosts Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), a series of interactive, case-based, virtual learning sessions where attendees gain knowledge and skills from experts in performance improvement. Participants of Project ECHO learn emerging practices and practical applications for their field. Attendance is limited to enhance the participant experience and allow for deeper engagement and knowledge-sharing throughout the series. Past Project ECHO sessions include “Workforce Resilience During COVID-19” and “Successfully Conducting Virtual Community Health Assessments/Community Health Improvement Plans During COVID-19.” A Project ECHO series titled “Operationalizing Anti-Racism, Social Justice, and Health Equity Principles Through Performance Improvement” was also held in Fall 2021.

To learn more about participation in phPIN, visit Public Health Performance Improvement (phPIN).

Strategic Scholars Program
Photo of hands joining as a team during an interactive session at PHIT in 2019.

“Systems thinking helped us to fully evaluate the problem before jumping to solutions.”—2019 Cohort Member

The Strategic Scholars Program, developed and implemented by CSTLTS and NNPHI, uses a community of practice cohort model and multiple learning modalities to build governmental public health workforce capacity in strategic skill areas. The Strategic Skills, established through an initiative of the deBeaumont Foundation and updated to align with public health competencies, provide a framework for important cross-cutting skills in public health. The Strategic Skills are relevant to public health professionals from all disciplines and experience levels. They are designed to help the workforce manage change and resources, communicate effectively, create action from data, engage with the communities served, influence policy, form cross-sector partnerships, and strive for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

The Strategic Scholars Program model allows participants to work with their peers from across the country to explore new ideas and concepts around the specific strategic skill selected for each cohort. Strategic Scholars Program participants complete self-paced training related to the strategic skill, participate in live learning sessions led by an expert coach, and have access to individualized coaching as they complete a team-based skill application project.

Past cohorts and participating teams include—

To learn more about the Strategic Scholars Program, visit Strategic Scholars Program.

Competencies for Performance Improvement Professionals in Public Health

The Competencies for Performance Improvement Professionals in Public Health​ (PI Competencies), released in 2018, are a set of skills for performance improvement (PI) professionals working in the public health field. Based on the Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals (Core Competencies), the PI Competencies offer guidance for public health professionals who develop or implement plans and activities in the areas of quality improvement, performance management, workforce development, accreditation readiness, or community health assessment and improvement planning.

CSTLTS supported the Public Health Foundation (PHF) in developing and reviewing the PI Competencies. Under guidance from the Core Competencies Workgroup of the Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice, PHF led a feedback process for PI professionals working in public health to provide input on the competencies.

The PI Competencies can be used along with the Core Competencies to guide development of job descriptions, performance objectives, trainings, workforce development plans, academic curricula, tools, and other resources to support PI professionals’ activities and growth. The PI Competencies expand on elements addressed in five of the Core Competencies’ domains:

  • Analytical/Assessment Skills
  • Policy Development/Program Planning Skills
  • Community Dimensions of Practice Skills
  • Financial Planning and Management Skills
  • Leadership and Systems Thinking Skills


To learn more about the PI Competencies, visit Competencies for Performance Improvement Professionals in Public Health.