Online Program

Bridging the gap: Engaging public health students with the Utah public health association

Monday, November 4, 2013

Stephanie Croasdell, MPH, Division of Public Health, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
INTRODUCTION: Challenges within the field of public health are becoming more complex. The Institute of Medicine recently stated that the educational training in the U.S. is not adequately preparing the future public health workforce. This is primarily attributed to the lack of relationships between academia and public health professionals. Public health workforce challenges in Utah are no exception. This study was designed to explore innovative ways to bridge this gap in the public health relationships in Utah. METHODS: Following the principles of community-based participatory research, the Utah Public Health Association-Student Caucus (UPHA-SC) created an online exploratory survey, available for 3 months to all public health students in Utah. The survey was designed to capture the attitudes and objectives of current public health students regarding their professional and practical experiences. RESULTS: Among the respondents (n=186) were undergraduate (53%), graduate (37%), and doctoral students (10%) attending 5 Utah universities. Ninety-four percent of respondents were interested in engaging with professionals through an organization that offered networking and job opportunities. Respondents were interested in attending the UPHA Annual Conference, professional site visits, and establishing a mentor relationship through membership with UPHA. CONCLUSION: Results from this survey will allow the UPHA-SC and other groups to create a model for sustainable student organizations. This approach of associating professional organizations and academic institutions is unique. Through the utilization of the UPHA-SC, public health students will be better connected with professionals, allowing for a more prepared and skilled future workforce.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the benefits of a student caucus that is affiliated with a professional public health organization at the state level. Identify the strategies currently in use in Utah to prepare the future public health workforce.

Keyword(s): Workforce, Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the president for the Utah Public Health Association Student Caucus and a current graduate student in the Division of Public Health at the University of Utah. After receiving a B.S. in psychology, I developed a passion for women’s health through my travel experiences in Central America and counseling experiences within the field of perinatal loss. My academic emphasis is focused on reproductive health and public health workforce development.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.