Janelle Nichols, MPH, Project Associate, Academic/Practice Linkages, Public Health Foundation
As highlighted in a recent PHF Pulse blog post, the Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals (Core Competencies) are being used by health departments throughout the country to develop workforce development plans as part of the accreditation requirements set by the Public Health Accreditation Board. In addition, the Core Competencies are also being used by academic institutions across the nation for preparing the existing and future public health workforce to address current and evolving needs.
Approximately 92% of academic institutions responding in the spring of 2016 to a request for information on their use of the Core Competencies reported that they are using the Core Competencies in a variety of ways, including in developing curricula, designing practicums and field placements, and assessing student skills and competencies. The Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice (Council on Linkages) thanks three of its member organizations – the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, Association for Prevention Teaching and Research, and American Association of Colleges of Nursing – for their efforts in collecting these data. These findings highlight the progress of academic institutions in achieving Healthy People 2020 objective PHI-3: Increase the proportion of Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accredited schools of public health, CEPH accredited academic programs, and schools of nursing (with a public health or community health component) that integrate Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals into curricula.
The Core Competencies also play a key role in the activities of the 10 Regional Public Health Training Centers and nearly 40 local performance sites based in academic institutions. These institutions use the Core Competencies to assess training needs of state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments and develop training to meet these needs. In addition, as part of its process for revising the accreditation criteria for schools and programs of public health, the Council on Education for Public Health used the Core Competencies as they considered changes to these criteria.
Are you interested in using the Core Competencies at your academic institution? The Council on Linkages has an online collection of tools and resources to support use of the Core Competencies, including a crosswalk of the 2014 and 2010 versions of the Core Competencies, a set of competency self-assessment instruments, and a list of frequently asked questions about the Core Competencies. A collection of job descriptions that incorporate the Core Competencies offers insight into the skills and competencies that will be required as graduates of public health programs enter the workforce. The Core Competencies are also integrated into the TRAIN learning network, providing access to a wealth of competency-based training.
New tools and resources to support use of the Core Competencies are on the horizon, including a “short form” version of the Core Competencies that can be used to assess competency gaps and prioritize areas for competency development. Sign up for the Council on Linkages Update newsletter to stay informed about new Core Competencies tools and resources, and share your ideas for new tools and resources or your own experiences with using the Core Competencies in the Comments section below.