141st APHA Annual Meeting

In This section

Using online training to address issues of workforce development

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 2:50 PM - 3:10 PM

Sharon Ravid, MPH , Office of Public Health Practice, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Jennifer Tsoi, MPH , Office of Public Health Practice, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Kathleen MacVarish, RS, MS , Office of Public Health Practice, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
The need for competency-based training for the public health workforce is well-documented. A challenge faced by local public health departments is the difficulty in attending classroom training sessions due to personnel and financial resource limitations, particularly for multi-session or multi-day events. Staffing shortages and budget cuts have made it difficult for staff to leave the office to attend training, if they are allowed to travel at all. A proposed solution is the use of the internet to extend training to the workforce. Research is available on the attributes of effective online learning; however, much of the training delivered via the internet does not incorporate such recommendations. We developed an effective distance education training model for public health practitioners including a standardized process for development, review, evaluation, and improvement. Our model is a series of awareness level competency-based online training modules that address the topics related to regulatory responsibilities such as inspections of housing, retail food safety, private water supplies, hazardous and solid waste, and on-site wastewater systems. In addition, we have developed trainings in surveillance, case investigation, emergency preparedness services and disease prevention and health promotion. These online trainings are asynchronous and allow the user to return to the module at a later time for completion. By providing opportunities for workforce development to the public health professionals, in a form that they are able to use easily, we can provide higher quality public health services to the community at large. Our replicable model incorporates what is known about best practices for online training and maximizes available resources in the interests of sustainability.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Explain the advantages of internet based trainings. Identify areas of interest that are conducive to being presented in an online format. Evaluate the quality and effectiveness of online training offerings.

Keywords: Workforce, Distance Education Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the program manager for the New England Alliance for Public Health Workforce Development at the Boston University School of Public Health, which has been overseeing the development of these trainings. I have been involved in all aspects of the development and implementation of classroom and online trainings and have been a member of the development team for two years. I have seven years of experience working with the local public health workforce.
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.