Prototype Curricular Models for Community College Public Health Programs

League for Innovation
Innovation Showcase

With the release of a new report, Community Colleges and Public Health Project Interim Report, November 2013, the longstanding role of community colleges in preparing health professionals may soon expand to offering more courses and programs in public health. Exploring the role of community colleges in readying students for the public health workforce and for transfer education is the focus of the Community Colleges and Public Health (CC&PH) Project, the second phase of which is now under way.

The Framing the Future: The Second Hundred Years of Education for Public Health Task Force (Task Force), convened by the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), approved the continuation of the project, which began in October 2012 with the establishment of an Expert Panel to explore the role of community colleges in the continuum of education for public health. The League for Innovation in the Community College (League) staffs the project for the Task Force.

The Expert Panel, which includes representatives from community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, graduate schools of public health, and the public health field, recommended identification of associate degree and certificate programs leading to transfer and career opportunities for community college graduates.

In the project's second phase, community colleges and public health will work together to develop prototype curriculum models for community college associate degree and certificate programs.

The models will include the ASPPH Undergraduate Learning Outcomes and Critical Component Elements, and developers will be encouraged to incorporate principles of the Liberal Education and America?s Promise (LEAP) and Scientific Thinking and Integrative Reasoning Skills (STIRS) projects led by the Association of American Colleges and Universities into the curriculum models. In summer 2014, the models will be posted online for vetting by the larger public health and higher education fields and other interested parties.

The second phase will continue through September 2014, and the final report will be presented to the Task Force at its November 2014 meeting. This phase of the project is supported by a $45,000 grant awarded under a cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) Grant Number 5U36OE000002.

Chair of the Framing the Future Task Force, Dr. Donna Petersen, said:

This exciting partnership between the Framing the Future Task Force and the League has helped kick off an important dialogue between graduate public health and the rapidly growing undergraduate public health arena. We have learned that much important undergraduate education takes place at community colleges. The planned curricular products from the Community Colleges and Public Health Expert Panel will fill a big gap in both educating students to serve the public's health and in articulating students along the academic trajectory to more advanced coursework.

League President and CEO, Dr. Gerardo de los Santos, noted that, "The focus on service to the community is a natural foundation for partnerships between the community college and public health fields, and the League is excited to be involved in exploring ways to make and strengthen these connections."

The project leadership team includes Dr. Richard Riegelman, Professor and Founding Dean, The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services; Dr. Cynthia Wilson, Vice President for Learning and Research at the League; Dr. John Dreyzehner, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Health; and Dr. Lorri Huffard, Dean, Science & Health Programs, Wytheville Community College.

To download the Phase 1 Interim Report and access additional information about the project, visit  

ASPPH is the voice of accredited public health education, representing member schools and programs accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). CEPH, an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, accredits schools of public health and public health programs to assure that the school or program has been evaluated and has met accepted standards established by and with the public health profession. ASPPH is the membership organization for these prestigious academic institutions.

The Framing the Future: The Second Hundred Years of Education for Public Health initiative, convened by ASPPH, is guided by a Framing the Future Task Force, composed of distinguished representatives from practice and academe. The task force is reconsidering the role of education for public health 100 years after the Welch-Rose Report, in dialogue with the full range of public health constituencies. Its aim is to set a new vision for education for public health for the 21st century. The task force intends to rethink the varied pathways of education in public health from undergraduate through doctoral levels, from interdisciplinary and interprofessional perspectives and with the needs of the changing workforce ever forefront in its deliberations.