PITTSBURGH, Sept. 27 -- A federal grant of $1.6 million to the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) will help public health workers throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania upgrade their professional skills through the school. The GSPH is one of eight accredited schools of public health from across the United States to receive a grant and a designation as a Public Health Training Center by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
"One of the most exciting things about the Public Health Training Center program is that this is the first time that HRSA has directed funds toward worksite-based training of the existing workforce instead of toward school-based education," explained Margaret A. Potter, J.D., associate dean for public health practice at GSPH and director of the new Public Health Training Center.
"Only about 20 percent of the half-million public health professionals in the U.S. have a formal public health education, so these grants will go a long way toward helping them do a better job. The goal of this program is to assure high-quality performance of public health agencies."
The GSPH will operate the Central Appalachian Public Health Training Center. Working with Ohio State University, Ms. Potter and her staff will develop on-site and distance-based training programs with a focus on underserved areas. Efforts will focus on providing workers with basic and specialized public health education; improving their ability to interpret and make decisions based on available public health data and information; increasing their understanding of emerging public health issues such as bioterrorism, behavioral and mental health, domestic and societal violence and environmental health issues; and developing internship programs for public health graduate students.