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The Future of the Public’s Health in the 21st Century
workers outside their own units or departments. They identified educational and training needs in eight areas:
Information systems and computer skills
Technical writing and presentation skills
Research and policy development skills
Management and administrative skills
The study also found that states need federal support to obtain technical assistance for the acquisition and use of new technologies for distance-based or remote-site learning, ongoing financial support, and symbolic support demonstrating that training and education are valued and are priorities.
Another study conducted by Reder and colleagues (1999) assessed the training needs of public health professionals in Washington State. They found that communication was the area in which public health professionals require the most training, with the four most highly rated topics being interpersonal communication, cross-cultural and cross-age communication, electronic communication, and participatory teaching and training skills.
The educational and training needs of the current public health workforce are enormous and multifaceted. Academia has an essential and unique role to play in ensuring that broad-based educational and training opportunities are available on a regional basis. All accredited MPH programs, school based or otherwise, are required to provide some continuing education; however, what is offered varies widely depending on the available resources and expertise. With the advent of new and expanding information technologies, the opportunity for schools and programs to provide education and training to a broader audience via distance learning is increasing rapidly. The means for achieving this are discussed further in the chapter on the governmental public health infrastructure (Chapter 3). Although academia can play a leadership role in the coordination of various educational and training opportunities for the public health workforce, it cannot meet all of these needs. In some cases, practitioners in the field can best provide in-service training.
Funding of Public Health Professional Education and Training
A current lack of funding is a major problem in providing training and education for both students seeking degrees and those already in the public