The University Record, March 5, 2001

U-M Public Health Training Center to benefit state’s public health system

By Colleen Newvine
News and Information Services

The School of Public Health (SPH) recently launched a program aimed at providing training and support for the state’s public health work force.

The Michigan Public Health Training Center (MPHTC) is funded by a five-year, $2.4 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration Bureau of Health Professions and is one of eight such centers across the country. The goal of the grant program is “to improve the nation’s public health system by strengthening the technical, scientific, managerial and leadership competence of the current and future public health work force.”

The center will conduct a comprehensive training needs and technological capacity assessment of Michigan’s public health work force. Then it will develop a series of 18 short courses to take place on a rotating basis in Michigan communities with limited access to health care and later convert these courses to mentored, Web-based offerings. The first round of classes is slated for May 2002 in Flint, and later courses will be held in Detroit and northern Michigan.

“The training center provides an excellent opportunity for the School of Public Health to make its educational resources available to the broad diversity of public health workers who are addressing Michigan’s most serious public health challenges,” says Toby Citrin, center director and director of the Community-Based Public Health Program.

MPHTC will offer guidance to public health workers on career development and training resources for areas not traditionally included in the public health curriculum, such as computer or management skills. It also will help to facilitate access to Michigan-specific public health data and to create a virtual learning community linking current and former students for sharing experiences and resources and providing mutual support.

The center’s mission is to develop a comprehensive, coordinated, statewide strategy for improving the competency of the public health work force by linking the School of Public Health with the state’s major public health stakeholders.

Principal practice partners, which are participating in the design of the center’s offerings, include: Michigan Department of Community Health, Michigan Public Health Institute, Faith Access to Community Economic Development, Friends of Parkside, Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan Inc., Michigan Association of Health Plans, Michigan Association for Local Public Health, Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health, Michigan Health and Hospital Association, Michigan League for Human Services, Michigan Osteopathic Association, Michigan Primary Care Association, Michigan State Medical Society and the U-M Health System.

The center aims to remain a permanent asset for the state’s public health work force beyond the duration of its grant.

The Community Health Leadership Institute, a yearlong program focused on building leadership and relationships among those practicing or participating in community health, will become a part of the center in two years. In its sixth year, the Leadership Institute has 104 alumni and 32 current participants. It is funded by the Michigan Department of Community Health and is administered by the Michigan Public Health Institute.