Shaping Public Health Practice in the 21st Century: Enhancing Skills and Core Competencies

Claire Betker, National Coordinator, Core Competencies for Public Health Initiative
Carla Jane Troy


Contexte :
In January 2006, the pan-Canadian Framework for Public Health Human Resources identified key building blocks to strengthen public health. This poster will discuss the development of one key building block, Core Competencies for Public Health. This is an initiative of the Skills Enhancement for Public Health Program.

Méthode :
Competencies contribute to strengthening the public health workforce. They identify the essential knowledge, skills and attitudes required for public health practice. They provide a rational basis to develop curriculum and assess training needs, and provide consistency to develop job descriptions and assess performance. In 2005, the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Joint Task Group on Public Health Human Resources drafted a set of core competencies and recommended that the Public Health Agency of Canada undertake a national process to review and modify or validate these draft core competencies. Through an extensive consultation process, the draft core competencies were shared and discussed with over 3000 public health practitioners and with representatives from organizations and of all levels of government. The process included: regional meetings across Canada, a pan-Canadian survey, implementation pilots and work with specific disciplines and professional organizations. Core Competencies for Public Health in Canada: Release 1.0 reflects the feedback and suggestions gained in the consultation.

Résultats :
This poster will describe the consultation process and the results. Concrete examples of how the core competencies have been or could be used to strengthen public health practice, including curriculum development, orientation and human resource management will be highlighted. Examples of tools available to support use will be included. Development of accessible and appropriate continuing education opportunities was identified in the consultation as being a priority. Skills Online, a professional continuing education program provides practitioners across Canada with the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills necessary to meet the core competencies for public health practice. Skills Online is an initiative of the Skills Enhancement Program for Public Health, and provides a series of distance-learning, Internet-based modules available in both English and French.

Conclusion :
Working collaboratively, the Skills Enhancement for Public Health Program is changing the way that public health practitioners work and interact with their colleagues and the environment.