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Annu Rev Public Health. 2010;31:253-69 1 p following 269. doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.012809.103705.

Outcome-based workforce development and education in public health.

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United States Public Health Service, Office of Workforce and Career Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.


The broad scope of the public health mission leads to an increasingly diverse workforce. Given the range of feeder disciplines and the reality that much of the workforce does not have formal training in public health science and practice, a pressing need exists for training and education throughout the workforce. Just as we in public health take a rigorous approach to our science, so too should we take a rigorous, evidence-driven approach to workforce development. In this review, we recommend a framework for workforce education in public health, integrating three critical conceptual approaches: (a) adult learning theory; (b) competency-based education; and (c) the expanded Dreyfus model in public health, an addition to the Dreyfus model of professional skills progression. We illustrate the application of this framework in practice, using the field of applied epidemiology. This framework provides a context for designing and developing high-quality, outcome-based workforce development efforts and evaluating their impact, with implications for academic and public health practice efforts to educate the public health workforce.

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