. "4. Future Role of Schools of Public Health in Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century." Who Will Keep the Public Healthy? Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2003.
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Who Will Keep the Public Healthy?: Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century
medical school curriculum itself, as has been proposed by Lasker (1999) and others and is further discussed in Chapter 5 of this report.
The committee recommends that schools of public health should embrace the large number of programs in public-health-related fields that have developed within medical schools and schools of nursing, and initiate and foster scientific and educational collaborations.
The focus on preparing individuals for leadership roles and senior practice positions requires re-design of curricula and teaching approaches to incorporate:
enhanced participation in the educational process by persons in senior practice positions or with comparable experiences, experts in medicine or its practice, or those with unique skills in areas such as communication, cultural competence, leadership development, policy, or planning;
reconsideration of M.P.H. admission requirements to ensure that selected candidates are adequately prepared for the expanded didactic and practical training envisioned;
vastly expanded practice rotations; and
enhanced education for competence in specific careers (e.g., biostatistician or health care administrator).
Educating Public Health Researchers
As discussed later in this chapter, the range of future research in public health will also be radically different from what we see today. To a far greater degree, public health research will be transdisciplinary in nature, involving applications of basic biology and social sciences, and direct participation of the community. Moreover, a far larger portion of the research portfolio is likely to be evaluative and/or intervention-focused, with interventions at the individual, community organizational, and even societal levels.
Training of the workforce to conduct this research will require an equally radical new approach to the current strategy of advanced degree education at the doctoral level. The breadth of the envisioned future enterprise, and its many intersections with other scientific, biomedical, and social scientific fields, suggests that an important component of science training will be directed at those who enter public health with an advanced degree in another discipline, typically an M.D. or Ph.D. Such future investigators should have exposure to the core competencies and specialized advanced courses in relevant disciplines such as epidemiologic methods, methods for intervention research, or health economics. These types of courses may be necessary to transform the prior disciplinary research focus of these students to a new focus on public health questions. Efforts to make the educational experience effi-