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5 Online Public Health Courses for Professionals & MPH Graduates

By Rob Schliff, Jan 25, 2013

Public health has a broad spectrum of careers, but many require a license or certification to practice. In some cases, maintaining licensure will require continuing your education in public health, or proof that you are keeping up with emerging technologies and changing practices of the public health world. Continuing education units (CEUs) are awarded according to the amount of time spent in the classroom or in training. These CEUs may not count for every public health profession and the number of CEUs needed can vary depending on your public health profession, and the state in which you work.

While many courses are offered in the classroom or at an on-site location, there are also free online courses on public health which can qualify for continuing education. The following five free public health online courses for professionals and masters of public health graduates provide continuing education in one or more of the public health professions.

1. What is Public Health?

Course offered by the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health

CEUs: 2.5

CNN reports that this year's flu season started earlier and hit harder than last year, with more than 41 states reporting widespread influenza activity. The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that as of January 12, 2013, this year's flu epidemic has killed 29 infants and children.

Public health is about preventing disease fatalities such as this year’s deadly outbreak and preserving and prolonging the health of our society. This free course in public health covers the basic principles of public health and the essential services, as well as the importance of companies and government agencies collaborating to stem the spread of disease. The course also covers some of the future challenges that could be faced in public health.

2. Anatomy and Physiology of an Outbreak Team

Course offered by the University of North Carolina, Center for Public Health Preparedness

CEUs: 1 (for Registered Environmental Health Specialists in North Carolina)

In January 2009, the country was in the middle of a salmonella outbreak which had caused 700 illnesses and nine deaths. After being sworn in as President, Obama shook up the FDA to prevent future outbreaks of this magnitude. One of the results was the creation of a multi-disciplinary outbreak team called the Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) Network.

The CORE Network is made up of a group of professionals with varied backgrounds and skills who work together to respond to outbreaks of foodborne illnesses. Before the formation of CORE, the FDA would pull a team together whenever an outbreak occurred. Having a dedicated team to respond to outbreaks allows the FDA to act more quickly and without disrupting other FDA operations.

This free online continuing education course in public health describes the roles of an outbreak investigation team and the management strategies and procedures of the team during an outbreak. Focuses of the course include team member roles, the importance of communication and the materials needed for the team to conduct an outbreak investigation.

3. Healthy Children, Healthy Communities: A Learning Series on Childhood Obesity

Course provided by the Michigan Public Health Training Center

CEUs: 4.5; Category 1 certificate awarded upon completion

In the past 30 years, the rate of childhood obesity in the US has more than tripled. According to the CDC obese children are more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, pre-diabetes, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, and poor self-esteem.

This continuing education course is designed for social workers, health and human services practitioners, members of community-based organizations and public health professionals as they explore obesity trends in the U.S., discuss intervention options, and learn how changes at school or in the community can lead to an increase in physical activity and healthier eating for children.

4. Health Care Reform: An Overview of the New Legislation

Course provided by South Central Public Health Partnership

CEUs: Nurses 1; Social Workers 1

Between lawsuits over the mandate to cover abortion services, rising health insurance premiums, and ongoing political strife over health care, the future of the Affordable Care Act is uncertain. However, patients have questions about the program, and what it means for their health care coverage.

This continuing education program offers answers to many of the questions patients may have about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act through an in-depth look at the $870 billion program and the changes it will have to the health care industry, specifically in public health.

5. Through the Looking Glass: Envisioning the Future of Health Care Through the Lens of Public Health and Behavioral Health

Course provided by West Virginia University, Health Sciences Center

Make Sure Your Continuing Education Counts

More than 50 percent of people who have mental health issues visit their primary care provider instead of a mental health facility. While at the same time, patients who are being treated for serious mental illnesses in the mental health system are much more likely to die of heart disease, pneumonia, influenza, and other respiratory illnesses than the general population.

In this course, Patrice Harris, MD, the Director of Health Services in Fulton County, Georgia, presents her vision for the future of health care—an integrated system that combines mental health and primary health care. Dr. Harris explains how both sets of patients can be better served through a primary care/mental health collaboration that give both mental health professionals and primary care physicians a more complete picture of the patient's condition and treatment.

Robert is a staff writer for a popular site about Masters in Public Health degrees called, MPH Programs List.com. The website sees visitors from over 20 countries interested in job, career & program information about public health, public administration, policy, health administration and more. He welcomes feedback on this and all his articles.

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Author Bio:

Robert is a staff writer for a popular site about Masters in Public Health degrees called, MPH Programs List.com. The website sees visitors from over 20 countries interested in job, career & program information about public health, public administration, policy, health administration and more. He welcomes feedback on this and all his articles.

 
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