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Who Will Keep the Public Healthy?: Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century
(i.e., population health, primary prevention, community-based, and public health systems research), with emphasis on transdisciplinary efforts;
the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality spearhead a new effort in public health systems research;
NIH launch a new series of faculty development awards (“K” awards) for population health and related areas; and
there be a redirection of current CDC extramural research to increase peer reviewed investigator-initiated awards in population health, prevention, community-based, and public health policy research, reallocating a significant portion of current categorical public health research funding to competitive extramural grants in these areas.*
Educating public health professionals to effectively respond to the new and emerging challenges requires funding support. Public health professionals can most effectively continue to contribute to improving the public’s health through practice, teaching, and research if we are willing to provide quality support to the education of those professionals.
At no time in the history of this nation has the public health mission of promoting the public’s health and safety resonated more clearly with the public and the government than now. The events of September 11, 2001, brought public health glaringly into the limelight. All citizens now have reason to understand what public health is and how the public health system interacts and shares responsibility for managing public health risks with national, regional, and local levels of government and with the health care system.
Addressing public health challenges requires an ecological approach, and the committee has developed recommendations for a framework for education, training, research, and practice based on the ecological model. The ecological model recognizes that the health of individuals and the community is determined by multiple factors and by their interactions, including biology, the social and physical environment, education, employment, and behavior (e.g., healthy ones such as exercise and unhealthy ones such as overeating).
We need high quality public health professionals contributing through practice, teaching, and research to improved health in our communities.
Dr. Alan Guttmacher, because of his position as a federal employee, did not participate in discussions nor take a position regarding committee recommendations pertaining to federal funding.