UGA College of Public Health receives training grant

The University of Georgia College of Public Health is the recipient of a five year $3,193,000 award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to establish the Georgia Public Health Training Center (PHTC) to improve the state’s public health system by enhancing skills of the current and future public health workforce.

The grant is a part of $16.8 million awarded to support 27 Public Health Training Centers (PHTC) at schools of public health and other public or non-profit institutions across the country. The PHTC Program helps improve the public health system by enhancing skills of the current and future public health workforce. Most of the funding – $15.4 million – is made available by the Prevention and Public Health Fund included as part of the Affordable Care Act.

In announcing the award, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said “Today’s awards represent a dramatic increase in support for Public Health Training Centers., Investing in prevention and public health is the foundation for improving the health and well-being of all Americans.”

Those organizations that receive funding will plan, develop, operate and evaluate projects that support goals in preventive medicine, health promotion and disease prevention; and improve access to and quality of health services in medically underserved communities. Other PHTC activities include assessing the learning needs of the public health workforce; providing accessible training; and working with organizations to meet strategic planning, education, and resource needs.

“Whether facing public health emergencies such as natural disasters, or chronic conditions like obesity, a well-trained public health workforce is critical to ensuring the nation’s health and welfare,” said Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N., administrator of HHS Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which oversees the PHTC program.

Dean Phillip Williams remarked that “in order to have a public health workforce that is fully prepared to address new and emerging health problems, it is essential that the college aligns its academic mission with the training demands of the public health practice community and funding for a public health training center provides us with the resources and vehicle to do so.”

“The receipt of this grant will enable the college to further its mission of serving the needs of the population and advancing the quality of life and wellness for the people of Georgia” said Williams. “The grant’s principal investigator, Dr. Joel Lee, associate dean of the college, will collaborate with other college faculty,public health practitioners and academic programs in the state to accomplish this outcome.” To initiate collaboration, the new center will subcontract with the Public Health Institute at Georgia State University to address Urban Public Health issues.

Posted September 16, 2010.