Online Program

Creating a culture of numeracy: Moving public health core competencies from paper to action

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 8:50 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Monali Varia, MHSc, CIC, Health Services, Communicable Diseases, Peel Public Health, Mississauga, ON, Canada
Julie Stratton, MHSc, Health Services, Office of the Medical Officer of Health, Peel Public Health, Mississauga, ON, Canada
The use of health data is instrumental in making effective public health decisions. The Public Health Agency of Canada's Core Competencies of ‘Public Health Sciences' and ‘Assessment and Analysis' define the minimum knowledge and skills required of a public health practitioner to use health data; however, there is limited guidance on how these competencies are to be achieved.

Peel Public Health is a local health department in Ontario, Canada that serves a population of 1.3 million people. The health department completed an evidence-informed needs assessment with staff across the organization to understand barriers and facilitators to using health data in program practice. Based on the results, a multi-faceted strategy to enhance the use of data in decision-making was developed with an emphasis on: • Establishing role clarity • Creating organizational processes and tools to facilitate the use of health data • Developing staff skills in using health data through a targeted training process based on the results of a standardized competency assessment tool, and • Developing a mentoring process to support staff in using health data to identify and characterize a public health problem

The training and mentoring process was piloted with teams across the organization who wished to establish program priorities or further understand a public health issue in their area of practice. The evaluation of this intervention assessed changes in staff knowledge and skill, as well as the effectiveness of targeted mentoring and training.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe a local public health department's approach to building staff competency levels and its effectiveness in increasing the organization's use of health data in making program and policy decisions.

Keyword(s): Competency, Statistics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Trained as an epidemiologist, I have been a public health practitioner for 14 years and have recently completed a fellowship in the Executive Training for Research Application program, a program to develop capacity and leadership to optimize the use of research evidence in managing health-care organizations. I am also involved in education and training for graduate students and health care professionals through the University of Toronto and the Canadian Field Epidemiology Program.
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.