The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
Who Will Keep the Public Healthy?: Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century
law, global health, and ethics. Understanding and being able to apply information and computer science technology to public health practice and learning (i.e., public health informatics) are necessary competencies for public health professionals in this information age in which we are vitally dependent upon data. Genomics is helping us understand the role of genetic factors in leading causes of morbidity in the United States, information that public health professionals must be familiar with to improve health. Public health professionals must be proficient in communication to interact effectively with multiple audiences. They must also be able to understand and incorporate the needs and perspectives of culturally diverse communities in public health interventions and research, and to understand and be able to influence the policies, laws, and regulations that affect health. New approaches to research that involve practitioners, researchers, and the community in joint efforts to improve health are becoming necessary as we recognize the importance of multiple determinants of health, for example, social relationships, living conditions, neighborhoods, and communities. Understanding global health issues is increasingly important as public health professionals are called upon to address problems that transcend national boundaries. Finally, public health professionals must be able to identify and address the numerous ethical issues that arise in public health practice and research.
We need high quality public health professionals contributing through practice, teaching, and research to improve health in our communities. This report provides a framework and recommendations for strengthening public health education, research, and practice skills that can be used by the institutions and organizations responsible for educating public health professionals and supporting public health education. Public health professionals’ education and preparedness should be of concern to everyone, for it is well-educated public health professionals who will be able to effectively shape the programs and policies needed to improve population health during the coming century. If we want high quality public health professionals, then we must be willing to provide the support necessary to educate those professionals.