scientists and public health professionals, stating that “Research informs practice and policy. Leadership guides them all.” The need for competencies in public health was mentioned several times. Other educational or training issues included:
Education at the M.P.H. level should be comprehensive, integrated, and broad-based to support the need for general public health preparedness, necessary for such things as bioterrorism preparedness.
M.P.H. programs need to be redesigned to permit greater flexibility in the development of clusters of skills and competencies in response to the rapidly changing public health environment.
Baccalaureate training in schools would provide a vehicle for attracting a new cadre of students into public health.
There is a need for opportunities for training in non-degree programs for part-time and mid-career students, and for increased distance learning programs.
There is a need for more practical experience for graduates.
Faculty issues were also addressed. Respondents indicated the need to recruit minority faculty to achieve diversity, that it was difficult to recruit faculty in specific disciplines such as biostatistics and epidemiology, and that it is necessary to maintain and improve faculty salary levels to be competitive with other sectors.
Another issue identified as important was building the public health infrastructure. Some respondents indicated that there should be national attention and standards for trained personnel, along with funding to meet those standards. Respondents indicated that schools should be expected to be a resource to provide training and to meet these standards and that a lack of standards and funding results in an inadequately prepared public health workforce. It was suggested that certification or credentialing of public health professionals is an important issue. One person suggested that certification might result in more uniform and rigorous programs to address core content needs. It was proposed that schools assist in the accreditation process for local departments of health by helping them meet their continuing education needs.
Respondents also indicated that the emphasis of public health research must be reviewed periodically. More prevention research is needed, including increased federal interest in prevention research. Schools of public health must more effectively promote prevention as a powerful means of health protection. Public health must find new approaches to reach the public on a level that effectively encourages primary prevention and enables individuals to change known risk behaviors to healthy behaviors. There should be increased emphasis on partnerships to develop viable