206736 A model Built Environment and Public Health course curriculum: Training for an interdisciplinary workforce

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 10:56 AM

Nisha Botchwey, PhD , School of Architecture, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Susan E. Hobson, MPH , College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Andrew Dannenberg, MD, MPH , National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Karen G. Mumford, PhD , Biology Discipline & Environmental Studies Program, Division of Science and Mathematics, University of Minnesota Morris, Morris, MN
Cheryl Contant , Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean, University of Minnesota, Morris, Morris, MN
Tracy McMillan, PhD, MPH , PPH Partners, Flagstaff, AZ
Richard J. Jackson, MD MPH , Environmental Health Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Russell Lopez, MCRP DSc , School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA
Curtis Winkle, PhD , College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Despite growing evidence of the direct and indirect effects of the built environment on public health, planners, who shape the built environment, and public health professionals, who protect the public's health, rarely interact. Most public health professionals have little experience with urban planners, zoning boards, city councils, and others who make decisions about the built environment. Moreover, few planners understand the health implications of design, land use, or transportation decisions. One strategy for bridging this divide is development of interdisciplinary courses in planning and public health that address the health implications of the built environment.

Professional networking and Web-based searches in 2007 led to the identification of six primarily graduate-level courses in the United States that address the links between the built environment and health. Instructors of these courses were invited to collaborate on reviewing course content, assignments and evaluations, and to develop a model built environment and health curriculum that follows a learning-centered approach to course design.

Common content areas in most courses included planning and public health histories, health disparities, interdisciplinary approaches, air and water quality, physical activity, social capital and mental health. Authors propose a model curriculum adaptable in both planning and public health departments to promote interdisciplinary learning.

Results show that students gain planning and public health perspectives through this instruction, benefiting from active learning opportunities. Faculty implementation of the proposed interdisciplinary model curriculum will help bridge the divide between disciplines and enable planners and public health professionals to value, create and promote healthy environments.

Learning Objectives:
Describe a model built environment and public health course curriculum for training an interdisciplinary workforce. Design a built environment and public health curriculum that fits the context of one's institution and audience.

Keywords: Public Health Curriculum, Environment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I teach built environment and public health courses and am lead author on a February 2009 AJPM paper that discusses this work.
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.