Major change is called for in the funding of public health research. There must be increased emphasis on transdisciplinary research, public health prevention, systems, and policy research, and an assurance that traditional, single-discipline scientific review neither stalls nor thwarts the appropriate allocation of funds to scientifically meritorious transdisciplinary teams and proposals.
Local, state, and federal public health agencies form the backbone and the infrastructure for the public health system in the United States, and the workforce of these agencies is an essential component of that infrastructure. Public health professionals in these agencies, as well as in other organizations, must be appropriately educated to perform effectively. They must have the competencies necessary to serve as the frontline deliverers of public health services to diverse communities. They must be able to respond to rapidly changing needs, priorities, and technologies. They must have the knowledge and skills necessary to work effectively with many different disciplines, communities, and organizations. They must have an ecological perspective, grounded in the fundamental skills of public health.
Educating public health professionals to function effectively and to respond to the new and emerging challenges requires funding support. There is an old saying, “You get what you pay for.” If we want high quality public health professionals, contributing through practice, teaching, and research to improved health in our communities, then we must be willing to provide quality support to the education of those professionals.