the Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice
on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice is comprised
of leaders from national organizations representing the public health
practice and academic communities. The Council grew out of the Public
Health Faculty/Agency Forum, which developed recommendations for
improving the relevance of public health education to the demands
of public health in the practice sector. The need for this improvement,
and for public health professionals to place a higher value on practice-specific
training and research, were documented by the Institute of Medicine
report, The Future of Public Health. This
project is supported under a cooperative agreement from the Health
Resources and Services Administration.
To improve public health practice and education by refining and
implementing recommendations of the Public Health Faculty/Agency
Forum, establishing links between academia and the agencies of the
public health community, and creating a process for continuing public
health education throughout one's career.
to the Core Competencies
on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice is committed
to assisting the U.S. Public Health Service in efforts to implement
components of The Public Health Workforce: An Agenda for the 21st
Century report pertaining to public health competencies. To this
end the Council developed a list of core competencies for public
health professionals. This list represents ten years of work on
this subject by the Council and numerous other organizations and
individuals in public health academia and practice settings. Their
work has been compiled from various source documents and cross-walked
with the Essential Public Health Services. This cross-walk ensures
that the competencies help build the skills necessary for providing
these essential services.
The list has
also been reviewed by over 1,000 public health professionals during
a public comment period. The Council utilized several mechanisms
to receive feedback from reviewers, including e-mail, focus groups,
sessions at various conferences, and the competencies web site.
The comments from public health professionals in a broad array of
disciplines and practice settings have led to this consensus
set of core competencies for guiding public health workforce
development efforts. These competencies will ultimately help guide
curriculum and content development of public health education and
training programs for preparation of practitioners and for the ongoing
development of practitioners in the field. The competencies may
also be used by those in practice settings as a framework for hiring
and evaluating staff.
The core competencies
represent a set of skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for
the broad practice of public health. They transcend the boundaries
of the specific disciplines within public health and help to unify
the profession. However, because the list only captures the cross-cutting
competencies for public health practice, it may not contain competencies
that are specific to certain disciplines within the field. Discipline
specific competencies are necessary for specialized roles within
public health. These core competencies for all public health professionals
may be used to drive the development of such discipline specific
competencies. Moreover, because this list is meant to represent
the core, it may not contain many skills that are necessary for
the performance of certain jobs within certain practice settings.
Individuals, employers, educators, and trainers should use this
list as a starting point for developing a modified list of competencies
that matches their needs. When applied in the work setting, the
competencies listed here as separate are, in fact, practiced in
combinations that are dynamic. Therefore, for hiring, performance
evaluation, or training, users of the competency list will begin
to recognize typical or recurring clusters of competencies that
define performance quality in various programs and job categories.
are divided into the following eight domains: Analytic Assessment
Skills, Basic Public Health Sciences Skills, Cultural Competency
Skills, Communication Skills, Community Dimensions of Practice Skills,
Financial Planning and Management Skills, Leadership and Systems
Thinking Skills, Policy Development/Program Planning Skills. Skills
and knowledge levels are listed first within each domain, followed
by important attitudes relevant to the practice of public health.
While attitudes may be more difficult to measure, they can be part
of what is taught and should be included in curriculum and content
of the Council focuses on core competencies as they apply to front
line staff, senior level staff, and supervisory
and management staff. Definitions for these job categories follow.
The Council acknowledges that these job categories are defined broadly
and the lines of distinction between them are not always clear.
However, the categories are meant to be flexible and adaptable to
the evolving profession. While core competencies for clerical or
support staff (e.g. clerks; dental, lab, or nursing assistants;
data entry staff; etc.) are also important, they are not part of
this current effort. Including clerical and support staff would
extend the project beyond its scope. The Council also recognizes
that, in many public health settings, job category is often related
to educational background. However, educational level and years
of experience are not included in the job category definitions because
they do not necessarily dictate function within an organization.
Levels of skill
have been assigned to each competency based on the job category
of the public health professional. The three skill levels are aware,
knowledgeable, and proficient.
The skill levels for each competency by job category represent the
majority opinion of reviewers of the web site. When almost an equal
number of responses for two consecutive skill levels occurred, the
Council has indicated this by reporting both skill levels. In these
cases the actual level of skill for that competency falls along
the continuum between the two skill levels. A difference of 10%
or less between the number of responses for two consecutive skill
levels was used as the threshold to determine what is an equal number
of responses. Although skill levels do vary by job category, all
public health professionals should at least be aware of these core
on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice adopted
the Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals on April 11,
2001 for a three-year period. The list will be reviewed for potential
revision by April 2004, taking into consideration its use by the
practice and academic communities and the changing nature of public
health practice. To view the final list, click
is seeking feedback about the utility of the Core Competencies for
Public Health Professionals from users in the field. On this site
you can submit examples of ways you have applied the list of core
competencies to your workforce development efforts or see examples
shared by others. We also welcome comments about the usefulness
and value or limitations of the list.
to Use This Site
on Linkages is seeking feedback about the utility of the Core Competencies
for Public Health Professionals from users in the field. Use the
buttons on the left side of each page to:
- The individual
skills desirable for the delivery of Essential
Public Health Services. Intended levels of mastery, and therefore
learning objectives for workers within each competency, will differ
depending upon their backgrounds and job duties.
who carry out the bulk of day-to-day tasks (e.g. sanitarians,
counselors, nurses and other clinicians, investigators, lab technicians,
health educators). Responsibilities may include basic data collection
and analysis, fieldwork, program planning, outreach activities,
programmatic support, and other organizational tasks.
with a specialized staff function but not serving as managers
(e.g. epidemiologists, attorneys, biostatisticians, health planners,
health policy analysts). They have increased technical knowledge
of principles in areas such as epidemiology, program planning
and evaluation, data collection, budget development, grant writing,
etc. and may be responsible for coordination and/or oversight
of pieces of projects or programs.
and Management Staff:
responsible for major programs or functions of an organization,
with staff who report to them. Increased skills can be expected
in program development, program implementation, program evaluation,
community relations, writing, public speaking, managing timelines
and work plans, presenting arguments and recommendations on policy
- Basic level
of mastery of the competency. Individuals may be able to identify
the concept or skill but have limited ability to perform the skill.
level of mastery of the competency. Individuals are able to apply
and describe the skill.
level of mastery of the competency. Individuals are able to synthesize,
critique or teach the skill.