Editorial: Education for a Public Health Workforce in Europe and Globally
© BioMed Central London 2011
Published: 15 June 2011
During the past century, public health has made major contributions to longer and better lives, through prevention and control of communicable and noncommunicable diseases and injuries, not only in industrialized nations but also worldwide. Public health, delivered through the organized efforts of society, benefitted from sanitation, food safety, new and improved vaccines, better nutrition, and successful health promotion that addressed many of the major causes of morbidity and mortality and an increasingly diverse array of public health challenges. One of the core functions of public health is to ensure an adequately organized, trained and supported workforce. In this issue, we address the educational context for training a multidisciplinary workforce to meet the needs of a public health community facing rapidly evolving responsibilities and challenges. Our objective is to promote discussion about effective policies on the public health workforce by governments, universities, schools, civil society, and the international health community, coupled with recognition of the centrality of this topic for their funding and development agendas. This is especially vital during a period of economic distress when there are cuts in public funding, even as threats to health are expanding as a consequence of increasingly global forces. The reviews and case reports in this issue show the diversity of experiences and identify some common themes for future development. Sharing the experience of different parts of the world in training public health workers will, we believe, promote analytic and constructive thinking and practices about curricula, competencies, bachelor’s level and postgraduate education, research needs, the role of government, professional and nongovernmental organizations, international accreditation and other important issues. This offers a basis for the coming decades to foster academic and practical environments that can provide a trained public health professional workforce in each country in Europe, and ultimately, globally.