Professional doctorates in public health: contributing towards workforce specialisation and the knowledge economy

Leggat, P., Speare, R., and Durrheim, D. (2003) Professional doctorates in public health: contributing towards workforce specialisation and the knowledge economy. Focus on Health Professional Education, 5 (2). pp. 14-22.

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The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) is a professional doctorate, developed to provide specialised training for the growing number of students completing the Master of Public Health (MPH) and similar postgraduate degree programs around Australia and overseas, who recognise their need of advanced knowledge and skills to succeed in the increasingly complex global public health environment. Australian universities first introduced this degree in the late 1990s, and currently 10 Australian universities offer this award. The DrPH degree builds on the current strength of broad-based MPH degrees throughout Australasia and recognises the need to provide an advanced training program, which will allow academic specialisation in various public health sciences and methodologies. Specialisation in public health is expected to provide better understanding and informed solutions for public health problems. These professional studies need to be designed with sufficient flexibility to meet the defined needs of students and employers. The preparation or up-skilling of Master's degree graduates to function in a specialist area, in order to manage and deal with sophisticated issues, policies, and human resources, is becoming increasingly necessary as public health becomes more complex. It is envisaged that on successful completion of the DrPH degree, students will have advanced knowledge and skills in a specific area of public health, so that they will be equipped to assume leadership roles in specialised fields of professional public health practice, teaching and research. Students are required to demonstrate competence in their public health specialisation through the completion of coursework and a thesis. For the DrPH at James Cook University, the major outputs anticipated are peer reviewed publications, reports and/or monographs, with the focus of the publications being on addressing problems in public health, as well as presentations at conferences, with abstracts published in refereed proceedings. The DrPH is not merely seen as an academic milestone, but more as an ongoing process of gaining high level skills and establishing a recognised specialist role within public health, as well as contributing tangibly to the knowledge economy and practice of public health.

Item ID: 6342
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1442-1100
Keywords: Australia; professional doctorates; public health; specialisation; workforce
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Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2010 03:03
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920504 Occupational Health @ 100%
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