WASHINGTON, Aug. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to the rapidly growing interest in undergraduate education in public health, an Association of Schools of Public Health expert-led panel provided a set of critical component elements for public health bachelor's degrees last week. These groundbreaking critical component elements identify and define the essential aspects of an undergraduate education in public health, aiming to define the "what" and leaving the "how" of developing, or refining existing, bachelors' degree to individual institutions. In developing these elements, ASPH recognizes that there is significant value in education in undergraduate public health regardless of a graduate's ultimate career destination, and that some programs will choose to provide education in public health as a part of a general liberal arts education. This set of elements is the product of an ongoing and larger Framing the Future project, which has taken on the task of mapping the next one hundred years of public health education.
The critical components break undergraduate education into four recommended sections: background domains; public health domains; cumulative experience and field exposure; and cross-cutting areas. The first components, background domains, represent the education areas which every student should explore, ranging from social and behavioral sciences to humanities and fine arts, and they also include recommended skills, which highlight the importance of communication abilities and information synthesis. The second and the largest section, the public health domain, includes but is not limited to topics such as human health, health policy, law, ethics, and economics, and health communication. The third set of components focuses on the importance of cumulative experience and field exposure so that programs provide opportunities for students to integrate, apply, and synthesize knowledge through cumulative and experiential activities. Lastly, the recommendations include a cross-cutting curriculum that provides students with concepts and experiences necessary for success, regardless of their educational or career trajectory upon graduation, and lifelong learning. To view the recommended critical components of an undergraduate major in public health in full, visit http://www.asph.org/userfiles/UndergraduateCriticalComponentElements.pdf.
The expert panel was chaired by Dean Randy Wykoff of East Tennessee State University College of Public Health. Dean Donna Petersen at the University of South Florida College of Public Health chairs Framing the Future task force.
This initiative was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) Grant Number CD300430.
The Association of Schools of Public Health is the only organization representing the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)-accredited schools of public health and programs seeking accreditation as schools of public health. ASPH promotes the efforts of schools of public health to improve the health of every person through education, research, and policy. Based upon the belief that "you're only as healthy as the world you live in," ASPH works with stakeholders to develop solutions to the most pressing health concerns and provides access to the ongoing initiatives of the schools of public health.
SOURCE Association of Schools of Public Health