research programs. Understanding and addressing the determinants of ethnic and racial health disparities is an important research focus.
It was suggested that new monies flowing into public health for bioterrorism response should be used to help build the infrastructure. Finally, respondents identified, but did not elaborate on, the following challenges:
Quality of health care
Un- and under-insured populations
The establishment of the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health in 1918 marked the beginning of public health education in a school dedicated to the field. There are currently 32 accredited schools of public health and 45 accredited community health programs. The Council on Education for Public Health estimates that the total number of accredited schools and programs may well double within the next 10 years and that the most dramatic growth is occurring outside the established schools of public health. Many of the nation’s accredited medical schools now have operational M.P.H. programs or are currently developing a graduate public health degree program (Evans, 2002). New specializations are emerging such as human genetics, management of clinical trials, and public health informatics. Many schools and competing organizations are involved in distance learning programs that offer the possibility of fulfilling the long-recognized need to bring public health education to the homes and offices of the public health workforce. The Internet also offers the possibility of bringing public health education to populations across the country and around the world; indeed, health information sites are among the most popular and frequently visited of all Web applications.
Previous efforts to design truly effective systems of public health education generally foundered because of a lack of political will, public disinterest, or a paucity of funds. Since September 11, 2001, however, the context has changed dramatically. With public health rising high on the national agenda and an abundance of funds being promised, perhaps there is now an opportunity, as there has not been for a very long time, to shape a future system of public health education that addresses the problems that have been so often described and analyzed.