zations in the public health system and for schools of public health that supply the public health infrastructure with its professionals and leaders (Chapter 3).

  1. A formal national dialogue should be initiated to address the issue of public health workforce credentialing. The Secretary of DHHS should appoint a national commission on public health workforce credentialing to lead this dialogue. The commission should be charged to determine if a credentialing system would further the goal of creating a competent workforce and, if applicable, the manner and time frame for implementation by governmental public health agencies at all levels. The dialogue should include representatives from federal, state, and local public health agencies, academia, and public health professional organizations who can represent and discuss the various perspectives on the workforce credentialing debate (Chapter 3).

Finding: Developments in communication and information technologies present both opportunities and challenges to attaining the vision of healthy people in healthy communities. Harnessing the potential of these technologies will enable public health officials to collect and disseminate information more efficiently, improve the effectiveness of public health interventions, and enable the public to understand what services should be provided, and thus what they have the right to expect from their public officials.

  1. All partners within the public health system should place special emphasis on communication as a critical core competency of public health practice. Governmental public health agencies at all levels should use existing and emerging tools (including information technologies) for effective management of public health information and for internal and external communication. To be effective, such communication must be culturally appropriate and suitable to the literacy levels of the individuals in the communities they serve (Chapter 3).

Finding: Existing information networks make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for governmental public health agencies to exchange information and communicate effectively with the health care delivery system for the purposes of surveillance, reporting, and appropriately responding to threats to the public’s health. Clear communication and enhanced information gathering, processing, and dissemination mechanisms will increase the accountability and effectiveness of governmental public health agencies and other public health system actors. Individuals and communities may also

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