work collaboratively with other professional schools to assure quality public health content in their programs;
assure access to life-long learning for the public health workforce; and
engage actively with various communities to improve the public’s health.
The following pages discuss each of these responsibilities and provide recommendations for a framework for education, training, and research in schools of public health.
The “most distinctive role of public health education lies in the preparation of public health professionals” (Fineberg et al., 1994). While most professional public health graduates receive their degrees in either 1 of the 32 accredited schools of public health (about 5,600 graduates in 1999) or 1 of the 45 accredited master of public health (M.P.H.) degree programs (approximately 800 graduates in 2001), it has been amply documented that only a small minority of the total public health workforce has received any formal public health training. In an 18-month study of the Texas public health workforce, Kennedy and colleagues (1999) estimated that only 7 percent of the public health workforce had formal education in public health. Nationally, only 22 percent of chief executives of local health departments have graduate degrees in public health (Turnock, 2001), and it is estimated that about 80 percent of public health workers lack basic training in public health (CDC, 2001a).
Many of those in the public health workforce who do receive formal training in public health do so primarily via alternative pathways, that is, through certificate programs, short courses, and continuing education programs, conferences, workshops, and institutes offered by a variety of institutions and organizations. The strengths and contributions of these programs cannot be overemphasized, and the committee acknowledges their importance to the development of the public health workforce.
The committee believes that education in schools of public health should be directed toward masters and doctoral level students who will fulfill many professional positions within public health, toward persons destined for practice careers in positions of senior responsibility and leadership, and toward those who will become public health researchers and academic faculty. The education and range of skills of professionals working in public health will continue to be wide. There is a need for well-educated senior public health officials who “have the preparation not only to manage a governmental agency, but also to provide guidance to the workforce with regard to health goals or priorities, provide policy