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Continuing Educational Needs of APHA Members Within the Professional Public Health Workforce

Neuberger, John S. DrPH, MPH, MBA; Montes, J. Henry AB, MPH; Woodhouse, Carolyn (Lynn) EdD, MEd, MPH; Nazir, Niaman MD, MPH; Ferebee, Annette MPH

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: September/October 2014 - Volume 20 - Issue 5 - p 530–533
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3182a9c0f5
Research Brief Report

Objective: To examine the continuing education needs of and method of course delivery for American Public Health Association (APHA) members.

Methods (Design, Setting, Participants): The APHA Education Board developed a list of 37 potential continuing education courses, 20 of which were linked to course competencies. An electronic survey of 22 104 APHA members was conducted to determine members' priorities. Survey data included age, gender, race/ethnicity, highest academic degree obtained, workplace setting, educational needs, and preferred method of course delivery. Data were primarily analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Main Outcome Measures: Demographic data, educational needs, and preferred method of course delivery.

Results: Respondents numbered 5058, with 3836 (75.8%) interested in continuing education. For those indicating an interest, approximately 6 course areas per person were identified. A number of specific course areas were emphasized, including Leadership and Systems Thinking Skills and Policy Development and Program Planning. More than 50% of respondents favored obtaining courses using an online or computer-based format. Of the 24% uninterested in continuing education, 78% were in the age range of 25 to 65 years.

Conclusions: Although this study identified continuing education needs of a wide cross section of APHA members, the response rate was low. Additional surveys should be conducted periodically to update course offerings and identify gaps in workforce training. Reasons for any disinterest in continuing education in public health should be explored.

This report examines the continuing education needs of and method of course delivery for American Public Health Association members. Additional surveys should be conducted periodically to update course offerings and identify gaps in workforce training.

Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City (Drs Neuberger and Nazir); Health Resources and Services Administration, Potomac, Maryland (Mr Montes); Community Health Behavior and Education, Jiann Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro (Dr Woodhouse); and Center for Professional Development, American Public Health Association, Washington, District of Columbia (Ms Ferebee).

Correspondence: John S. Neuberger, DrPH, MPH, MBA, Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas School of Medicine, MS 1008, 3901 Rainbow Blvd, Kansas City, KS 66160 (jneuberg@kumc.edu).

J.H.M. is retired.

This survey is a follow-up of a pilot study of 6 APHA sections conducted several years ago by the authors. Kim Tran, BS, an APHA intern under the supervision of Annette Ferebee, MPH, helped design that study. Members of the APHA Education Board provided constructive feedback during development of this new survey; in particular Delois-Dilworth Berry, MSW, ACSW, LCSW, and Carl Rush, MRP. Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Debbie Hettler, OD, MPH, FAAO, chairs of the Education Board, supported this project over several years. Sandy Tibbs of APHA's Information Technology Department provided computing support. Susan Radius, PhD, DHES, of the APHA Executive Board, provided some 2008 APHA membership data. We are grateful to the 5058 APHA respondents. There were no external sources of funding.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (http://www.JPHMP.com).

© 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.