The Framing the Future Task Force was created by the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) to examine the future of education in public health 100 years after publication of the Welch-Rose Report in 1915. The Task Force in turn convened several panels to address different degrees and levels of educational programs in public health.
In January 2014, the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) Expert Panel was formed to consider the degree in light of changes in the field since ASPPH produced the DrPH Core Competency Model in 2009. The panel issued a draft report in June 2014 that was strongly endorsed by stakeholders and revised into the current version in September 2014. The report is organized into three sections: Key Considerations, Design Elements, and Critical Content. Each section contains a set of assertions intended to guide the DrPH program evolution in the 21st century model of education in public health at the professional doctoral level.
The panel based their work on the premise that the degree will continue to grow in value and enrollment during the 21st century as health systems increasingly focus on population health approaches to improve health outcomes and lower health care costs. The panel’s vision for the 21st century DrPH graduate is that of a transformative leader with expertise in evidence-based public health practice and research who is able to convene diverse partners, communicate to effect change across a range of sectors and settings, synthesize findings, and generate practice-based evidence, when needed.
Those with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), in contrast to the DrPH, may exhibit proficiency in narrower lines of research and often with different types of research methods. While many PhD recipients opt to enter academic careers, it is natural that DrPH recipients also work in academe where there is a need to educate the anticipated growing enrollments in undergraduate and graduate programs, and/or develop the public health workforce.
All doctoral programs should be based on the premise that a substantial proportion of graduates will fill educational roles at some point in their careers. Thus, irrespective of degree, all doctoral students should be exposed to the pedagogy of teaching and education; understand how educational methods, content, and strategies should be influenced by characteristics of learners, subject matter, and context; experience an opportunity to develop skills in curriculum design, teaching strategies and methods, and assessment of learners; and receive feedback about their performance to improve their abilities.
Regarding the Critical Content recommendations, the panel expects that students will not become necessarily proficient at a high level in all areas during their course of study, but that DrPH programs provide students with a sufficient foundation in the listed content areas to grow in competence as their careers progress.