sity, and severe or unremitting psychiatric disorders. Evidence of the success of such collaboration can be found in the area of cardiovascular diseases and, to some extent, various cancers. Additionally, ongoing collaborations between schools of medicine and public health could focus on understanding how recent advances in genomics and biomedicine in general will make an impact on the public’s health over time. Students in both schools should be exposed to dialogues between leaders in medicine and leaders in public health on central topics related to the public’s health (e.g., regarding the impact upon and cost to society of new generation, subject specific pharmaceutical products).

Therefore, schools of medicine and schools of public health should develop an infrastructure to support research collaborations linking public health and medicine in the prevention and care of chronic diseases.

SCHOOLS OF NURSING

Nurses constitute the single largest group of professionals practicing public health. The estimated numbers available are somewhat inconsistent, given various data sources and definitions. In the 2000 estimated enumeration of the public health workforce, nearly 11 percent of the professionals identified were nurses, and there are probably a good many more practicing under more general job titles. (Center for Health Policy, 2000) These data come primarily from state and local health departments. However, many additional nurses in public health practice are employed elsewhere, including departments of education, as school nurses; workplaces, as occupational health nurses; community clinics, as educators and outreach coordinators; hospitals, as epidemiologists; and in voluntary health organizations in a wide range of population-focused activities. In most local public health departments, nurses are the largest component of the workforce. In very small departments they may be the only health professional staff member(s) (Gerzoff et al., 1999; Richardson et al., 2001). Anecdotal information suggests that states moving to establish local public health agencies or offices have made nursing the first locally based office, often using federal grant or reimbursement mechanisms for funding.

The complexities of the field of nursing are illustrated in the fact that leadership for public health nursing and public health nursing education comes from a multi-organizational group known as the Quad Council of Public Health Nursing Organizations. Members include the Association of State and Territorial Directors of Nursing, the Association of Community Health Nurse Educators (ACHNE), the Public Health Nursing Section of the American Public Health Association, and the American Nursing Association (ANA). Regular communication within the Quad Council has meant that the interests of the practice field are regularly brought to



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement