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J Public Health Manag Pract. 2015 Jul-Aug;21(4):400-5. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000114.

Disability Within US Public Health School and Program Curricula.

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Division of Human Development and Disabilities, Disability and Health Branch, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia (Mss Sinclair and Courtney-Long and Dr Eaton); and Office of Health Equity, Health and Disability Program, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston (Ms Tanenhaus).



To describe the percentage of US public health schools and programs offering graduate-level courses with disability content as a potential baseline measurement for Healthy People 2020 objective DH-3 and compare the percentage of public health schools that offered disability coursework in 1999 with those in 2011.


In 2011, using, cross-sectional information was collected from the deans, associate deans, directors, or chairpersons of master of public health-granting public health schools and programs that were accredited and listed with the Council on Education for Public Health. Two rounds of follow-up were conducted at 4-month intervals by e-mails and phone calls to program contacts who had not responded. The responses from schools and programs were calculated and compared.


There were 78 responses (34 schools and 44 programs) for a response rate of 63%. Fifty percent of public health schools and programs offered some disability content within their graduate-level courses. A greater percentage of schools than programs (71% vs 34%; P = .003) offered some graduate-level disability coursework within their curricula. The percentage of schools that offered disability coursework was similar in 1999 and 2011.


This assessment provides a potential baseline measurement for Healthy People 2020 objective DH-3. Future assessments should focus on clarifying disability content within courses and identifying capacity to offering disability training within public health schools and programs.

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