179574 Practice-based learning model in leadership and MCH for Rocky Mountain public health professionals

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 8:50 AM

Anne Hill, MA, MPH , Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Douglas Taren, PhD , Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor, University of Arizona, Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, Tucson, AZ
Rhonda M. Johnson, DrPH, CFNP , Health Sciences, University of Alaska-Anchrorage, Anchorage, AK
Richard Roberts, PhD , Early Intervention Research Institute, Utah State University, Logan, UT
Kathy Kennedy, DrPH , Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership, University of Denver, Denver, CO
Maternal and Child Health (MCH) programs in the Rocky Mountain region confront great disparities in health care and wellness. There are huge distances between providers and those needing services, with many counties in the region being designated as frontier areas. It is a region where public health professionals do their job in relative isolation and with few resources. There is also a lack of access to undergraduate and graduate education and continuing education in MCH due to low wages, limited financial aid, health workforce shortages, and minimal infrastructure. While each Rocky Mountain state tackles its own health issues, leadership and workforce development needs transcend state borders.

In 2001, The Rocky Mountain Public Health Education Consortium (RMPHEC) developed the MCH Certificate Program, a competency-based 12 graduate credit program that focuses on increasing the number of MCH professionals in the Rocky Mountain region and Southwest with formal public health training. Using a study plan that consists of self-assessment, focused mentorship, leadership training, an individualized graduate-level curriculum, and practicum experience, the program has trained more than 56 students from various public health backgrounds spanning nine states (AK, AZ, UT, NM, CO, MN, ID, ND, and WY).

The strengths of the Certificate Program are many and include encouraging trainees to pursue graduate degree programs, build networks, evaluate and improve MCH programs, and empower staff and communities in making sustainable health decisions. It is a practice-based model for replication nationwide that offers MCH professionals experiential learning and public health and leadership training to improve the heath status of MCH/FCH populations, particularly those in culturally diverse, frontier regions.

Learning Objectives:
1) Articulate at least five socio-cultural, political, economic, or geographic conditions that justify regional efforts for developing continuing education programs. 2) Identify two ways that the model enhances practice/academic partnerships between state, tribal and local public health agencies and universities. 3) Describe three public health and leadership capacities, which are addressed by the certificate program, to enhance public health outcomes.

Keywords: Maternal and Child Health, Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the program coordinator for the MCH Certificate Program Grant and have worked intimaately with current and former students.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.