To change the educational process so that public health and medicine can enhance their understanding of each other’s practices.
To create joint research efforts by developing a common research agenda for public health and medicine by using the threefold approach of relaying advantages of joint research, using preventive medicine certification and training as a form of integrated learning, and supporting the funding of research that links medicine and public health.
To devise a shared view of health and illness so that public health and medicine can use a common conceptual framework of health and illness.
To work together in health care provision and integrate health promotion and prevention into clinical health care delivery systems.
To jointly develop health care assessment measures such as quality, effectiveness, and outcome evaluations.
To translate Initiative ideas into action.
The Initiative’s work led to the development of a program that funded 19 collaborative projects around the country (Phillips, 2000). The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research also funded three projects aiming to enhance cooperation between the medical and public health communities in the context of community-based health programs (AHCPR, 1997).
Preventive medicine certification and training is another example of integrated interdisciplinary learning. In preventive medicine training, the primary emphasis is on disease prevention and health promotion. There are currently 6,091 certified preventive medicine specialists in the United States, but the proportion of these specialists among all U.S. physicians is on the decline. The decline has been greatest among those training in public health, with the primary reason for the decline being inadequate funding (Lane, 2000).
In addition, it is critical for public health education to cross traditional boundaries and link more effectively with the educational programs for other health professionals. In 1998, the Josiah Macy, Jr., Foundation sponsored a conference entitled Education for More Synergistic Practice of Medicine and Public Health (Hager, 1999). The goal of the conference was to develop recommendations on how public health practitioners and physicians can be trained to collaborate with one another. During the conference, Lasker (1999) emphasized the importance of public health education for medical students, whereas Lumpkin (1999) discussed what to teach students of public health about medical practice. He pointed out that because of the changes in the issues facing public health, enrolling students no longer come primarily from the medical or nursing profession. This, in turn, means that those students do not have a working knowledge of the biomedical basis of medical treatment or of the medical treatment system.
To gain needed exposure to the academic disciplines and the actual practices of their counterparts, medical students must become acquainted