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Abstract

Background. A 2012 IOM report is just one of an increasing number of recommendations to incorporate a population health approach into training of all health professionals. In light of the emphasis on and necessity for all future health professionals to possess core public health competences, a medium sized public University incorporated Introduction to Public Health as a required course in their undergraduate, interprofessional Health Sciences curriculum.

Purpose. The purpose of this study was to assess the change in core public health competencies of undergraduate Health Sciences students who completed an Introduction to Public Health course.

Methods. The Tier 1 Public Health Professionals Competency Assessment was administered in the online Introduction to Public Health courses for undergraduate Health Sciences students; the pretest was administered during the first week and the posttest during the final week of the 15 week course. Purposive sampling was used to assess how the course increased the student’s acquisition of core public health competencies within the designated eight domains.

Results. Results of this study showed an increase in the competency scores of the participants from pre to posttest across all of the eight domains.

Conclusions. This study demonstrates that an Introduction to Public Health course can increase the core public health competencies of undergraduate Health Sciences students, and the Public Health Professionals Competency Assessment can be used to assess the acquisition of these competencies with and guide curriculum for future health care providers.

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