Jones & Bartlett Learning Health Blog

    Undergraduate Public Health Education: What's New and What's Ahead

    Posted by Katie Hennessy on Oct 19, 2016 11:15:00 AM

    Public Health 101, Enhanced Second EditionBy Richard Riegelman, MD, MPH, PhD, Professor and Founding Dean, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University

    The growth of undergraduate public health education shows no signs of slowing down. The latest Department of Education data shows over 10,000 bachelor's degree graduates per year. This does not include the growing number of public health and global health minors or courses designed for general education or to prepare student for clinical graduate education.

    Community colleges are the most recent entry into the "continuum" of public health education. The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) and the League for Innovation in the Community College (the League) produced the blueprint for community colleges in their Community Colleges and Public Health report. The League is now developing the Public Health & Health Navigation Initiative designed to help community college implement public health transfer programs and health navigation certificate and associate degree programs.

    Undergraduate public health is rapidly become a full partner with graduate public health education in the continuum of public health education. The annual Undergraduate Public Health Summit (scheduled for March 15, 2017) sponsored by ASPPH is now coupled with the ASPPH Public Health and Global Health Network which is engaging a wide range of undergraduate programs including those without graduate public health education. 

    Now that undergraduate public health education is well established in bachelor's degree programs faculty can play an increasing role in the reform of general education and the emergence of integrative education. The "flipped classroom" is a good example.  With the "flipped classroom" content is taught prior to class often using digital interactive material. Face-to-face class time then can focus on interactive exercises and case studies.

    Additional new opportunities for undergraduate public health education include online courses. Online course can be used to connect bachelor's degree and associate degree programs as well as for summer course work and hybrid courses.

    The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is advocating reform of general education and the emergence of integrative education in which broad and integrative education is interdigitated with specialized education i.e. majors throughout the bachelor's degree. AAC&U's Scientific Thinking and Integrative Reasoning Skills (STIRS) initiative is designed to integrative evidence-based thinking into the education of all undergraduates. Undergraduate public health education is well positioned to contribute to these efforts due to the inherently integrative nature of public health and its emphasis on evidence-based thinking.

    Jones and Bartlett Learning products can enhance each of these efforts. The Essential Public Health series now provides a comprehensive set of materials that can be used by a wide range of undergraduate public health programs. The three "101" books, Public Health 101, Global Health 101, and Epidemiology 101 provide the core for majors, minors as well as individual courses designed for integrative education and to satisfy current distribution requirement.

    The Essential Public Health series includes two case books plus abundant case materials in most of the texts which is ideal for the "flipped classroom".  For instance Public Health 101 has 30 case studies and over 70 short scenarios including  a focus on Ebola and Zika in the new “One Health” bonus chapter. Sample answers are provided to instructors for selected cases and scenarios. Likewise Global Health 101 has extensive ancillary materials to enhance interactive education.

    The newest editions in the Essential Public Health series are now accompanied by Navigate 2 Advantage Access.  These interactive products are well designed for online learning including use in hybrid courses and for the "flipped classroom". Jones & Bartlett Learning provides extensive technical support which allow faculty to readily use the materials on Blackboard and other platforms.

    The new Jones & Bartlett Learning Health Navigation series is designed to provide all the materials needed to satisfy the recommendations of the Community Colleges and Public Health report for Health Navigation Education. This rapidly growing field allows students completing a certificate program or an associate degree to be employed as community health workers, patient navigators, health insurance navigators etc. The Health Navigation series website provides additional information and links to additional public health and health navigation resources.

    Principles of Health Navigation: Understanding Roles and Career Options by Karen (Kay) Perrin is the first of the books in the Health Navigation series. It is designed for an overview course on health navigation and for an initial course as part of certificate programs and associate degrees. Navigating the U.S. Health System by Nancy Niles and Navigating Health Insurance by Alexis Posen and James Stimpson will be available in spring 2017.

    It is an exciting time for undergraduate public health education. I hope you will take a look at the Essential Public Health and Health Navigation series to discover the wealth of materials that are now available to assist you in teaching a new generation of undergraduates.

    Topics: Health, public health education, Health Navigator, Public Health, Richard Riegelman

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