239526 Defining boundaries between undergraduate liberal arts and graduate public health programs at a research institition

Monday, October 31, 2011: 10:32 AM

Lauren D. Arnold, PhD, MPH , School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO
Timothy McBride, PhD , Public Health, Washington University in St. Louis/George Warren Brown School of Social Work, St. Louis, MO
Bradley P. Stoner, MD, PhD , Department of Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Purpose: In 2003, the Institute of Medicine recommended that all undergraduates have access to public health (PH) education. Since then, schools across the country have initiated PH majors, minors, and certificates. With this comes the challenge of distinguishing undergraduate and graduate training. We describe one approach to defining these boundaries, using the example of an undergraduate PH minor rooted in the liberal arts and a graduate MPH program.

Methods: A working group of undergraduate and graduate PH faculty developed undergraduate PH minor competencies based upon recommendations from the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR) and George Washington University. Proposed competencies were mapped to the minor's coursework and examined in comparison to those for the institution's MPH program, developed according to Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) guidelines.

Results: In areas of overlap, undergraduate competencies were distinguished to emphasize being able to “recognize,” “understand,” and “describe,” fundamental PH concepts; whereas in the MPH program, emphasis was placed on skill sets and application, use, and analysis. The link between undergraduate PH and liberal arts training (e.g. medical/cultural anthropology, psychology, sociology), rather than pre-professional training was also emphasized.

Recommendations: Institutions with undergraduate PH and MPH training should encourage collaboration between program leadership with respect to competency development. Nationally, the next step will be to define how undergraduate programs articulate with graduate training; with potential overlap of faculty and students entering MPH programs with increased didactic PH training, distinction between programs and establishment of collaborative linkages is essential.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe one example of developing competencies between undergraduate and graduate public health education. Discuss potential ways to define how undergraduate public health programs articulate with graduate public health training.

Keywords: Public Health Education, Public Health Curricula

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I teach undergraduate and graduate public health at Washington University, have published in the area of undergraduate public health education, and am a participant in ASPH's Undergraduate Public Health Learning Outcomes Development Project. I have also presented at APHA in the past.
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.