Assessing the Professional Development Needs of Public Health Educators in Light of Changing Competencies
Published Date:Sep 15 2008
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 2008; 5(4).
Because of the need for a well-trained public health workforce, professional competencies have been recently revised by the Institute of Medicine and the National Health Educator Competencies Update Project. This study compared the self-identified training needs of public health educators with the updated competencies and assessed employer support for continuing education.
A convenience sample of public health educators was recruited from an e-mail list of San Jose State University master of public health alumni. Respondents completed a Web-based survey that elicited information on emerging trends in public health education, training needs, and employer support for continuing education.
Concerns about funding cuts and privatization of resources emerged as a theme. Key trends reported were an increase in information technology, the need for policy advocacy skills, and the importance of a lifespan approach to health issues. Primary areas for training were organization development, evaluation, and management. Although most employers were reported to support continuing education, less than two-thirds of respondents were reimbursed for expenses.
These findings have implications for both research and practice. Innovative technologies should be developed to address health education professionals' training needs, and emerging themes should be incorporated into curricula for students.
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