LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Helping thousands of public health professionals provide better care to the medically underserved is the focus of the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences' involvement in a national public health training center consortium.
UofL faculty expertise led to the school's selection as Kentucky's headquarters - known as a Local Performance Site (LPS) - within the Region IV Public Health Training Center (PHTC) based at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded more than $1 million to fund the program with a goal of strengthening the public health workforce in the southern region of the United States - Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
"Our faculty members have tremendous experience in providing education to public health and other health care professionals in the areas of biological and general public health threats, infectious disease risks, and the use of information sciences tools to conduct research and deliver educational programs," said W. Paul McKinney, M.D., associate dean for research, UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences. "We also have worked extensively with the Kentucky Department for Public Health in developing targeted coursework, presentations and service."
UofL joins with Emory University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Florida A&M University, University of North Carolina - Wilmington, Medical University of South Carolina and East Tennessee State University to develop training courses and continuing education courses under the Region IV PHTC. Public health professionals will learn through webinars, web-based interactive lectures and virtual skill-based trainings.
McKinney hopes to increase access to courses through the Kentucky Department for Public Health's platform for online learning -Kentucky TRAIN (Training Finder Real-time Affiliate Integrated Network). He's working in collaboration with Kelli Dunn, M.D., senior associate dean for state initiatives and outreach, UofL School of Medicine, in helping build awareness about these continuing education courses through the state's Area Health Education Centers.
By the end of 2018, UofL and the other six sites hope to develop nearly 500 training sessions for more than 32,000 public health and other health care professionals.
Pathways to Practice Scholars
The Public Health Training Center program also incorporates a competitive opportunity for public health master's students from accredited institutions to gain practical experience under the mentorship of seasoned public health practitioners working with underserved communities.
The Pathways to Practice Scholars program is intended to enhance a student's professional knowledge while allowing them to use skills learned in the classroom. Each scholar will receive $1,500 to support travel and housing for the 8-12 week summer field placement.
UofL will oversee Kentucky's two field placement opportunities at the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health & Wellness and at the Food Literacy Project at Oxmoor Farm.