The School of Public Health at the University of Washington grew out of the medical school's department of preventive medicine. The school receives limited state support and relies heavily on federal research support and other grants and contracts to fund salaries and other activities. A 1990 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration supported the creation of a Center for Public Health Practice. The Center's goals are to provide continuing education to public health practitioners, place students in practicum situations, and form linkages between the school and public health practice settings.
The Center has responded to training needs in local health departments with a two-week summer institute and, in collaboration with the state DOH, the local public health community, and several university programs, with a series of training modules that are offered via satellite in seven locations throughout the state. Training needs include: assessment techniques, data analysis, and community organizing.
In other collaborations, a tenured faculty member serves as health officer for a rural county in central Washington. This arrangement provides a training site for students and establishes a link for the faculty with local health officers. Ties with the state DOH have been strengthened by cross appointments. For example, the state health officer serves as assistant dean for public health practice. The links with public health practitioners are also adding new perspectives to the content of the academic program. Workshop discussion suggested that local and state health departments would benefit from easier access to the technical expertise of academic health centers, particularly in analytic areas such as biostatistics.
Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound (GHC), the nation's largest consumer-governed nonprofit health maintenance organi-