The readiness of the public health workforce to deliver the essential public health services is benchmarked against training competencies. Consequently, it is expected that the establishment of the Council on Education in Public Health competencies will continue to drive the agenda of the learning continuum, from education to practice. However, the absence of environmental health as a listed competency in the Council on Education in Public Health accreditation criteria weakens the core public health program structure originally outlined by the National Academy of Medicine (formerly known as the Institute of Medicine) and could further dissolve environmental health content from schools and programs of public health. The authors have examined the literature on environmental health and public health education, and propose 3 overarching perspectives to employ from a theory, practice, and policy viewpoint to address this disconnect as follows: 1. adopting a pedagogic theoretical model that integrates both social and environmental determinants of health as inseparable components of public health; 2. revisiting historical examples of public health practice failures and successes related to environmental determinants of health as cautionary tales to avoid and exemplars to follow, respectively; and 3. pursuing ecosystemic policy changes to redress the inadequacy of environmental health education in public health workforce training. The current environmental health competency gap weakens the public health workforce infrastructure by creating graduates without the necessary science-based skills to protect communities from environmental threats. This departure from environmental health devalues the profession of public health and prohibits populations from reaching their full health potential. Practitioners, educators, and the public need to play a role in transforming siloes in environmental public health theory, practice, and policy into coherent learning ecosystems on which current and future populations can confidently depend.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health