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Who Will Keep the Public Healthy?: Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century
ample, social relationships, living conditions, neighborhoods, and communities. Understanding global health issues is increasingly important as public health professionals are called upon to address problems that transcend national boundaries. Finally, public health professionals must be able to identify and address the numerous ethical issues that arise in public health practice and research.
Therefore, for each of these eight emerging content areas, the committee recommends that
competencies be identified;
each area be included in graduate level public health education;
continuing development and creation of new knowledge be pursued; and
opportunity for specialization be offered.
The committee believes that the progress made in understanding and incorporating these eight important areas into public health practice, education, and research will enable us, in the future, to identify other new and emerging areas that must be addressed. The committee also believes that it is important to enhance the development of the public health profession. While many of the things that need to be done to enhance the profession are beyond the scope of this study, certification is related to public health education. Within the various professions in the world of health and illness, specialty certification is common. Specialty certification attests to skills beyond the legal minimums that apply to a limited set of patients (e.g., pediatrics), conditions (e.g., infectious diseases), or interventions (e.g., anesthesia).
The range of individuals entering masters of public health (M.P.H.) programs, many with no previous health-specific education and with no access to any of the public health-related certifications currently in existence, makes M.P.H. students likely candidates for a certification program. Therefore, the committee recommends the development of avoluntarycertification of competence in the ecological approach to public health as a mechanism for encouraging the development of new M.P.H. graduates.
SCHOOLS OF PUBLIC HEALTH
The basic public health degree is the master of public health (M.P.H.), while the doctor of public health (Dr.P.H.) is offered for advanced training in public health leadership. Schools of public health also offer a doctorate (Ph.D.) in various public health-related disciplines, as well as a range of masters’ degrees. Schools of public health produce the bulk of degree graduates. In 1998-1999, there were 5,568 graduates from the then 29 accredited schools of public health (ASPH, 2000). Davis and Dandoy