Academic institutions should increase integrated interdisciplinary learning opportunities for students in public health and other related health science professions. Such efforts should include not only multidisciplinary education but also interdisciplinary education and appropriate incentives for faculty to undertake such activities (Chapter 8).
Congress should increase funding for HRSA programs that provide financial support for students enrolled in public health degree programs through mechanisms such as training grants, loan repayments, and service obligation grants. Funding should also be provided to strengthen the Public Health Training Center program to effectively meet the educational needs of the existing public health workforce and to facilitate public health worker access to the centers. Support for leadership training of state and local health department directors and local community leaders should continue through funding of the National and Regional Public Health Leadership Institutes and distance-learning materials developed by HRSA and CDC (Chapter 8).
Finding: The committee finds that health-related research is disproportionately biomedical, focused on the health and health problems of individuals. Funding and incentives for population-level research and community-based prevention research are low, as these are not priority areas within academia or the governmental public health infrastructure.
Federal funders of research and academic institutions should recognize and reward faculty scholarship related to public health practice research (Chapter 8).
The committee recommends that Congress provide funds for CDC to enhance its investigator-initiated program for prevention research while maintaining a strong Centers, Institutes, and Offices (CIO)-generated research program. CDC should take steps that include
Expanding the external peer review mechanism for review of investigator-initiated research;
Allowing research to be conducted over the more generous time lines often required by prevention research; and
Establishing a central mechanism for coordination of investigator-initiated proposal submissions (Chapter 8).