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Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals

Overview

The Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals (Core Competencies) are a consensus set of skills for the broad practice of public health, as defined by the 10 Essential Public Health Services. Developed by the Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice (Council on Linkages), the Core Competencies reflect foundational skills desirable for professionals engaging in the practice, education, and research of public health. These competencies are organized into eight domains, reflecting skill areas within public health, and three tiers, representing career stages for public health professionals.

The Core Competencies are the result of more than 20 years of work by the Council on Linkages and other public health practice and academic organizations, beginning with development of the Universal Competencies by the Public Health Faculty/Agency Forum in 1991. The current version of the Core Competencies was unanimously adopted by the Council on Linkages on June 26, 2014, following a yearlong review and revision process. Previous versions were adopted on May 3, 2010 and April 11, 2001. The Core Competencies are regularly reviewed and revised by the Core Competencies Workgroup to ensure these competencies remain relevant in an evolving field of public health and continue to meet workforce needs.

Used by health departments and academic institutions across the country, the Core Competencies provide a framework for workforce development planning and action, and can serve as a starting point for public health professionals and organizations as they work to better understand and meet workforce development needs, improve performance, prepare for accreditation, and enhance the health of the communities they serve. Organizations are encouraged to interpret and adapt the Core Competencies in ways that meet their specific organizational needs.
 
A number of additional resources exist to support public health professionals and organizations in using the Core Competencies:
Council on Linkages staff are also available to answer questions about the Core Competencies and can be reached at competencies@phf.org.
 
To learn more about the Council on Linkages’ ongoing work related to the Core Competencies, please visit the About the Core Competencies webpage or contact Kathleen Amos at kamos@phf.org.

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