From the DeanShoring up the nation's public health system
We must be less sanguine about the state of the US public health infrastructure of the country after decades of funding neglect. Whether buildings at CDC or staffing for disease surveillance and response at state and local health departments, we are not well equipped for intentional or unintentional epidemics. We can and should do much better. Only a small fraction of public health workers in the United States have formal public health training. Standards for local health departments must be established, and education is needed to meet them.
Training public health workers is central to our mission here at the Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH). A large proportion of our graduates go on to work in state and local health departments or at CDC. During the past year alone, we enrolled 5,000 public health workers in continuing education classes. A new RSPH Center of Public Health Preparedness and Research will accelerate these and other efforts to shore up the nationís public health system. Already, the Rollins family, one of the schoolís long-time benefactors, has set the center on a firm foundation with a generous gift of $4.2 million, and the CDC recently designated it a national center for public health preparedness.
This issue of Public Health focuses on the many RSPH faculty, staff, alumni, and friends who have stepped up during this time of crisis, many at some risk to their personal safety. I am extremely proud of them all.
James W. Curran, MD, MPH
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