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NSW Public Health Bulletin archive

Informing Public Health Practice – Competencies of the Graduate Diploma of Applied Epidemiology Volume 11 Issue 4

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“The New South Wales Public Health Officer Training Program was established in 1990 to contribute to the development of a workforce with the capacity to plan, implement and evaluate public health interventions. The aim of the Training Program is to produce graduates who:
– understand the range of public health issues facing the population of NSW
– understand how public health professionals in different parts of the health system work to resolve these issues
– are competent to work strategically with others to resolve these issues themselves.

The Training Program provides three years of structured competency-based learning for people who have worked in health services and who have already completed postgraduate studies in public health. The multi-disciplinary nature of public health practice is reflected in the professional diversity of the Officers e.g. doctors, nurses, nutritionists. Each Officer is provided with a range of 3-6 supervised work placements of 6-12 months duration. This on-the-job learning is supported by regular structured training sessions.

The Training Program was first accredited by the Vocational Education Training and Accreditation Board of NSW (VETAB) in 1994 to award a Graduate Diploma of Applied Epidemiology. The development of competency areas that reflect the needs of the workforce is a requirement for accreditation and consequently a competency framework for the Graduate Diploma was developed at that time. This was informed by consultations with public health managers throughout NSW who identified the need for a flexible workforce with training and experience in the application of epidemiology and biostatistics to the description and analysis of health service issues. The competencies reflected this need for quantitative skills.”