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The Future of the Public’s Health in the 21st Century
Emergency Health Powers Act2; provide guidance and technical assistance to help states reform their laws to meet modern scientific and legal standards; and help foster greater consistency within and among states, especially in their approach to different health threats (Chapter 3).
Finding: The public health workforce must have appropriate education and training to perform its role. Today, a majority of governmental public health workers have little or no training in public health. Enhancing the knowledge and skills of governmental public health workers and nongovernmental workers who perform public health functions is necessary to ensure that essential public health services are competently delivered. Assessing and strengthening competence will help to ensure workforce preparedness, nurture leadership, and assure the quality of public health services.
All federal, state, and local governmental public health agencies should develop strategies to ensure that public health workers who are involved in the provision of essential public health services demonstrate mastery of the core public health competencies appropriate to their jobs. The Council on Linkages between Academia and Public Health Practice3should also encourage the competency development of public health professionals working in public health system roles in for-profit and nongovernmental entities (Chapter 3).
Congress should designate funds for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to periodically assess the preparedness of the public health workforce, to document the training necessary to meet basic competency expectations, and to advise on the funding necessary to provide such training (Chapter 3).
Leadership training, support, and development should be a high priority for governmental public health agencies and other organi-
The Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA) provides states with the powers needed “to detect and contain bioterrorism or a naturally occurring disease outbreak. Legislative bills based on the MSEHPA have been introduced in 34 states” (Gostin et al., 2002).
The Council on Linkages between Academia and Public Health Practice is comprised of leaders from national organizations representing the public health practice and academic communities. The Council grew out of the Public Health Faculty/Agency Forum, which developed recommendations for improving the relevance of public health education to the demands of public health in the practice sector. The Council and its partners have focused attention on the need for a public health practice research agenda.