Public Health Skills Fairfield University News

Public health professionals strive to make positive changes that impact everyone in their communities. Considering the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities, public health is critical to the well-being of society at large.

Because of we’ve seen drastic improvements related to vaccine-preventable diseases, maternal and infant health, tobacco control, motor vehicle safety, cancer prevention, and just about everything in between.

If you’re eager to build a career that makes a difference in the lives of others, this field could be the one for you. Read on to learn about the public health skills you’ll need to master.

7 Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals

To be effective in this field, public health officials must maintain a dynamic balance of hard and soft skills. In fact, the Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice has developed a framework outlining the core competencies public health professionals need.

Those who have their sights set on a thriving career in this field should focus on honing the following set of public health skills:

1. Data analytics and assessment skills

The collection and assessment of data is a fundamental element of public health work. In fact, assessment is considered one of the three core functions of public health. Analysis of information helps officials learn crucial information about a community’s current health status, needs, and challenges.

A skilled public health professional will know how to collect, analyze, manage, and apply quantitative and qualitative data to assess community health status. This requires an ability to not only interpret but also comprehensively describe factors that affect the health of a community.

2. Policy development and program planning skills

Another core function of public health is policy development. By conducting policy analyses, developing key community partnerships, and helping to promote and implement evidence-based interventions, public health professionals are able to strengthen, support, and mobilize communities to improve environmental health.

In addition to extensive policy-related research duties, professionals working in public policy are also expected to engage in strategic organizational and community planning, continually evaluating existing policies, programs, and services.

3. Communication skills

While many public health careers operate behind the scenes to improve environmental health, some are called upon to communicate strategies and recommendations to the public. This involves facilitating communication among individuals, groups, and organizations.

Strong communication skills are particularly necessary for public health officials tasked with responding to information, misinformation, and disinformation. When it comes to community health measures, people and organizations need their questions answered with responses that are clear, concise, and educational.

4. Health equity skills

Part of ensuring that adequate healthcare services are available to community members is focusing on health equity. Achieving health equity is reaching a state in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health.

The goal of eliminating preventable health disparities requires professionals who are able to recognize the diversity of individuals and populations while also engaging in continuous self-reflection about one’s biases. In order to reduce systemic and structural barriers that perpetuate health inequities, public health officials must apply principles of ethics, diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in all they do.

5. Community partnership skills

One of the keys to effective public health is community partnerships. In fact, without this, many public health efforts would completely fail to thrive. Professionals in this realm actively engage with community organizations and citizens in their programs and activities.

Such partnerships are crucial in generating collective interest and action, building community engagement and social capital, and helping contribute to an overall culture of health within the communities being served. In addition to building trust, community partnerships are also important avenues of shared resources and combined talents, resulting in enhanced opportunities for positive health outcomes.

6. Management and finance skills

None of the contributions public health professionals make to our communities would be possible without people being able to oversee the logistics of each and every effort. This is why acute management and finance skills can be important for those working in public health.

Depending on your role, you may be tasked with securing and managing human resources, securing and managing financial resources, engaging in professional development efforts, participating in contingency planning, and managing the programs and services that are implemented.

7. Public health sciences skills

While all the above skill sets are immeasurably important in public health, it is crucial for professionals in this sector to maintain sharp skills related to public health sciences in general. This means developing an evolving knowledge of the systems, policies, and events that have the greatest impact on environmental health.

It also means that public health officials need expertise in evidence-based practices, as concrete findings will be required to develop, implement, evaluate, and improve policies and services in public health.

Develop the public health skills you need for a thriving career

By working in public health, you’ll have the opportunity to make a concrete difference in the lives of others. But in order to succeed in this important field, you will need to develop the core public health competencies organizations are looking for.

If you’re interested in an interdisciplinary approach to public health education with a customizable curriculum rooted in science and social justice, you can find what you’re looking for at Fairfield University. Learn more about Fairfield’s dynamic approach by visiting the online Master of Public Health (MPH) program page.

Medical Education Day showcases health professions education research, innovation | News Services

Students in the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University — as well as students from other health sciences disciplines — shared their research and networked with other students and faculty during a celebration of health professions education on April 4.

“Creative work, innovation and interprofessional collaboration are all happening right here at the Brody School of Medicine and we are highlighting those efforts here today,” said event moderator Jill Sutton, a clinical associate professor in Brody’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “It is an exciting time to be in medical education and all of it can benefit our learners as well as our community and our stakeholders.”

Second-year Brody School of Medicine student Taha Lodhi discusses his poster presentation during Medical Education Day on April 4.

Second-year Brody School of Medicine student Taha Lodhi discusses his poster presentation during Medical Education Day on April 4. (ECU photos by Ben Abel)

The ninth annual Medical Education Day showcased 26 undergraduate and graduate projects related to health care and research. The event, held at ECU’s East Carolina Heart Institute, featured innovative projects by faculty, staff, students and residents in areas including curriculum, teaching and educational research and leadership.

This year’s theme was interprofessional collaboration; the event featured a keynote address by Alan Dow of Virginia Commonwealth University entitled, “Can Interprofessional Practice Save Us in Health Care?” Dow’s presentation defined trends in loneliness and burnout among health care professionals and illustrated how increasing interprofessional connections can improve practitioner well-being and health outcomes. Dow is interim division chief, division of hospital medicine, assistant vice president of health sciences for interprofessional education and collaborative care, president and CEO, UHS-PEP, VCU Health continuing education, and is the Seymour and Ruth Perlin Professor of Medicine and Health Administration at VCU.

Students earned accolades for their work during the event. Ryan Dickerson, third-year medical student and Medical Education and Teaching scholar, earned the Outstanding Podium Presentation award for his presentation, “Use of Supplemental Spaced Digital Image Identification Improves Student Performance on Medical Neuroanatomy Digital Practical Exams.”

Jared Barkes, fourth-year medical student and Medical Education and Teaching Scholar won podium runner-up for his research, “Incorporating Combined Near-Peer and Peer-to-Peer Teaching into the Pediatric Clerkship to Increase Student Exam Performance and Preparation for Residency. ”

The first place poster award went to fourth-year medical student Alexandra Doherty, Medical Education and Teaching Scholar, for her project, “Near-Peer Created Full-Length Practice Laboratory Practicals in Gross Anatomy and Embryology: Medical Student Support and Perceived Impact on Emotional Well-Being.” Second place poster was awarded to Rachel Stiglitz, third-year medical student and Research Scholar, for her presentation, “APEx pilot program — group educational sessions for pregnant adolescents on caring for themselves and their infants.” Taha Lodhi, third-year medical student and LINC Scholar, was awarded third place poster for his research “Evaluating Second-Year Medical Student Perceptions of a Combined Anki Deck for Spaced Reptation-Based Pathology Course Study.”

The Hypothesis Testing award was given to Kelly Davis, fourth-year medical student and Medical Education and Teaching Scholar and the Hot Topic award went to Mark Hand in the College of Nursing.

“This year’s event united ECU’s Health Science Campus through the celebration of educational research and innovation in medical and health professions education,” said Jenna Garris, executive director, of Brody’s REACH Initiative. “Moving forward, it is our vision to build an interprofessional network of faculty, staff and learners to promote educational excellence across ECU’s Health Sciences Campus.”

A complete list of award recipients, podium and poster presentations is available online.

Alexandra Doherty, M3 student, and K. Ryan Dickerson, M2 student at the Brody School of Medicine, discuss their poster presentation.

Alexandra Doherty, M3 student, and K. Ryan Dickerson, M2 student at the Brody School of Medicine, discuss their poster presentation.

Mark Hand, a nursing professor at the ECU College of Nursing, discusses his research poster with Shannon Powell, also from the CON, during the Brody Medical Education Day.

Mark Hand, a nursing professor at the ECU College of Nursing, discusses his research poster with Shannon Powell, also from the CON, during the Brody Medical Education Day.