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Who Will Keep the Public Healthy?: Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century
assess the past and current state of education and training (theory) for public health professionals and contrast it to future practice needs envisioned by the companion IOM study conducted by the Committee on Assuring the Health of the Public in the 21st Century. The committee’s findings will be used to develop a framework for how, over the next five to ten years, education, training, and research in schools of public health can be strengthened to meet the needs of future public health professionals to improve population-level health.
The charge further specified that the committee should deliberate the following questions:
What is the current status of training, curricula, and research efforts at accredited schools of public health?
How has public health education evolved over time?
What progress has been made in responding to the recommendations of the 1988 IOM report, The Future of Public Health?
What does a systematic review of the capabilities of schools of public health reveal about their capacity to educate and train public health professionals who will meet future needs for assuring population health?
Are the broad research agendas of schools of public health consistent with future needs to assure the health of the public?
What role can national institutions and resources play in supporting well-trained public health professionals?
What recommendations can be made to improve public health education, training, research, and leadership?
In response, the IOM convened the Committee on Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century. The committee is composed of experts in public health practice, academic public health, public health law, general graduate and continuing education, medical education, health professions training, public policy, social and behavioral sciences, occupational and environmental health, population-based and evaluation research, genomics, informatics, and communication. During the course of this one-year study the committee held five meetings (four included public information-gathering sessions); reviewed and analyzed key literature; and abstracted, analyzed, and synthesized data from catalogs and web sites of the accredited schools of public health (Appendix A). The committee also surveyed schools of public health (Appendix B) asking about progress made since publication of The Future of Public Health (IOM, 1988), and obtained written input from major public health organizations (Appendix C).
This report presents the committee’s findings and recommendations for educating public health professionals for the 21st century. The following sections of Chapter 1 define the term “public health professional,”