Pitt, Drexel Partner on $3.2 Million Project to Train Public Health Professionals

Issue Date: 
October 18, 2010

To ensure public health professionals are well trained to meet the nation’s diverse health needs, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $3.2 million to the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) to create the Pennsylvania Public Health Training Center (PAPHTC).

The five-year grant funds a partnership between GSPH, Drexel University School of Public Health in Philadelphia, and the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford that will provide training to help counteract the impact of a shrinking public health workforce. In Pennsylvania, only six counties and four cities have full-service public health departments.

“With diminishing resources, staff, and state funding for public health, workers have been required to do much more with less,” said Maggie Potter, principal investigator of the grant, director of the GSPH Center for Public Health Practice, and GSPH’s associate dean for public health practice. “These increasing demands make training and support more important than ever by enabling public health workers to provide essential health services in the communities they serve. We are fortunate and grateful to have the support of the Health Resources and Services Administration.”

PAPHTC staff will develop partnerships with community-based organizations and health departments to provide training in management, health communications, program development and evaluation, and public health law and policy. PAPHTC also will provide organizational development services such as strategic planning and quality improvement.

“At a time of ever-increasing health care cost, prevalence of chronic and life-style modifiable diseases, emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention through a trained public health work force is a step in the right direction to improve health outcomes in our state and country,” said Youmasu J. Siewe, PAPHTC project manager and director, Center for Rural Health Practice, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

The PAPHTC center is one of 27 accredited Public Health Training Centers being funded by HHS over the next five years. The PAPHTC project director is Linda S. Duchak, associate director, GSPH Center for Public Health Practice.