Complex issues like climate change and a continually transforming health system are challenging health professionals to work in new ways to promote community health and well-being.
With this in mind, the Health Resources and Services Administration recently awarded the University of Washington School of Public Health’s Northwest Center for Public Health Practice more than $3 million to support regional public health training and workforce development efforts over the next four years.
The funding will provide continued support for the Northwest Public Health Training Center to operate as one of 10 regional hubs, serving primarily Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Faculty and staff will build on past work and partnerships to develop a broad array of learning activities and professional development opportunities that help modernize the public health workforce’s skills.
“Public health professionals are asking for learning opportunities that are more flexible, frequent and engaging, and that the materials and experiences integrate complex ideas,” said Training and Outreach Manager Barbara Rose. “People also want to learn more from their peers and more easily apply new ideas and skills to the challenges in their daily work. We will use this new funding to address these requests.”
The Health Resources and Services Administration, a federal agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has supported the Northwest Public Health Training Center since 2000, with each iteration of funding bringing new focus areas and priorities. In the coming years, priority topics will include opioid misuse, behavioral and mental health issues, and leadership skills that support public health and primary care collaborations.
Expanding on the injury and violence prevention work of recent years, the center plans to develop additional resources to help health professionals better understand and address the root causes of and connections between many types of violence. The funding also includes stipends to support student placements and collaborative projects with public health organizations to apply skills and concepts learned in the classroom.
In all of these efforts, the center will work with longstanding and new partners to ensure training and learning resources reach the region’s rural and frontier areas.
“Public health jobs and roles are becoming more complex, and that complexity requires new skills — skills in addressing health equity, navigating systems and convening new partners, to name a few,” said Director Betty Bekemeier. “We look forward to working with our practice partners over the coming years to help them build these new skills for ‘Public Health 3.0.’”
Work with the new round of funding will begin in July 2018, while staff wrap up activities on the previous four years of funding.