Orginally published Jan. 03, 2012
Funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Public Health Training Center (PHTC) program was developed over 10 years ago to help improve the public health system in the United States by enhancing skills of the current and future public health workforce. Centers are primarily located at schools of public health and are awarded through a competitive process. Prior to September 2010, Georgia was one of seven U.S. states not covered by the national PHTC network. In the last round of competitive applications, Georgia was fortunate to have been awarded two PHTCs. The University of Georgia, under the direction of Dr. Marsha Davis, and Emory University, under the direction of Dr. Kathleen Miner, both received PHTCs.
While the specific training activities of the two PHTCs are different, the staff of both centers recognizes the synergistic benefit of collaboration. Together, the two PHTCs conducted a state-wide training needs assessment and developed work plans to provide both competency-based field placements for the future workforce (public health students) and competency-based training for the current public health workforce.
The needs assessment identified a variety of training needs that were then included in the core competency areas of analytic/assessment skills, leadership and system thinking skills, communication skills and cultural competency skills. Specific topical areas that were identified included: cost-effectiveness, emergency preparedness and response, infectious diseases, public health informatics, program evaluation, needs assessment, grant writing, advocacy and computer-based skills.
The two centers in Georgia work in a complementary manner – each leveraging their own expertise and resources to offer training to the public health workforce. The training is free of charge and includes face-to-face workshops, webinars and online learning. Both centers are actively involved in facilitating field experiences for their Master of Public Health students in public or nonprofit private health agencies or organizations, particularly those serving underserved areas and populations.
The PHTCs’ work is guided by a Joint Advisory Board – chaired by Dr. David Westfall, District Health Director – District 2. The advisory board includes representatives from county, district, state, and federal public health; academia; Area Health Education Centers; the Georgia Nurses Association; the Rural Health Association; non-profit agencies; and foundations.
For additional information, see the websites for each of the public health training centers at http://www.sph.emory.edu/ephtc/ and http://www.gphtc.uga.edu//.