Engaging local public health system partnerships to educate the future public health workforce
The Institute of Medicine concluded that keeping the public healthy required a well-educated public health workforce, thus leading to its recommendation that "all undergraduates should have access to education in public health" . In response to this call, the authors examined the current practice, feasibility, and value in strengthening (or building) a functional collaborative model between academic institutions and practitioners from local health departments to educate tomorrow's public health workforce. Local and regional health departments in New England were surveyed to: (1) establish a baseline of existing working relationships between them and nearby academic institutions; (2) examine the barriers that inhibit the development of collaborations with academic partners; (3) assess how they jointly promote public health workforce development; and (4) analyze which essential public health services their partnership addresses. Despite the lack of financial resources often cited for the absence of academic-local health department collaborations, some New England states reported that their academic institution and local public health department partnerships were valued and productive. The authors discuss how effective academic-community collaborations have the potential to facilitate a broad-based appreciation of public health among students via a wide array of public health curricula and applied experiential learning opportunities in public health settings. The authors propose a model for how to combine basic public health lessons with practical experience and leadership offered by local health departments, in order to foster a real understanding of public health, its importance, practice, and relevance in today's society from a public health workforce perspective.
Journal of Community Health
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Caron, R.M., Hiller, M.D., Wyman, W.J. Engaging local public health system partnerships to educate the future public health workforce. (2013) Journal of Community Health, 38 (2), pp. 268-276. doi:10.1007/s10900-012-9610-8
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