Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 97, Issue 3, pp 248–250 | Cite as

Are Schools of Public Health Needed to Address Public Health Workforce Development in Canada for the 21st Century?

  • Ted H. Tulchinsky
  • M. Joan BickfordEmail author


In addition to establishing Canadian federal institutions for public health to work in cooperation with provincial and local health authorities, the infrastructure of public health for the future depends on a multi-disciplinary and well-prepared workforce. Traditionally, Canada trained its public health workforce in schools of public health (or hygiene), but in recent decades this has been carried out in departments and centres primarily within medical faculties. Recent public health crises in Canada have led to some new federal institutions and reorganization of public health activities as well as other reforms. This commentary proposes re-examination of the context of public health workforce training and especially for schools of public health as independent faculties within universities as in the United States or, as developed more recently in Europe, semi-independent schools within medical faculties. The multi-disciplinary nature of public health professionals and the complex challenges of the “New Public Health” call for a new debate on this vital issue of public health workforce development. Public health needs a new image and higher profile of training, research and service to meet provincial and national needs, based on international standards of accreditation and recognition.

MeSH terms

Public health Canada health human resources schools of public health 


En plus de la création d’institutions fédérales de santé publique pour collaborer avec les autorités sanitaires provinciales et locales, l’avenir des infrastructures en santé publique dépend de l’existence d’une main-d’œuvre pluridisciplinaire et bien préparée. Par le passé, le Canada formait les effectifs de la santé publique dans des écoles de santé (ou d’hygiène) publique, mais depuis quelques décennies, ces cours sont principalement offerts dans les départements et les centres des facultés de médecine. Les crises de santé publique survenues récemment au Canada ont entraîné la création de quelques nouvelles institutions fédérales, la réorganisation des activités de la santé publique et plusieurs autres réformes. Nous nous proposons ici de revoir le contexte dans lequel on forme les effectifs de la santé publique, et surtout la possibilité de créer des écoles de santé publique autonomes au sein des universités, comme cela se fait aux États-Unis, ou encore, comme il en existe depuis peu en Europe, des écoles semi-autonomes au sein des facultés de médecine. La pluridisciplinarité des professionnels de la santé publique et la complexité des défis de la «nouvelle santé publique» justifieraient un nouveau débat sur la question vitale de la mise en valeur des effectifs de la santé publique. La santé publique aurait besoin de renouveler son image et de rehausser la visibilité de la formation, de la recherche et des services qu’elle offre, afin de répondre aux besoins provinciaux et nationaux tout en respectant les normes internationales d’agrément et de reconnaissance des titres de compétence.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Braun School of Public HealthHebrew University - HadassahJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.WinnipegCanada

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