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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 98-104

Towards a Public Health Curriculum in Undergraduate Medicine

1 Academic Unit of Medical Education, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom
2 Sydney Medical School-Northern University of Sydney, Australia

Correspondence Address:
S Basu
Academic Unit of Medical Education, University of Sheffield, S10 2GJ
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.103456

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Background: The need to adequately train medical professionals in public health has been recognised internationally. Despite this, public health curricula, particularly in undergraduate medicine, are poorly defined. This study explored the public health disciplines that newly qualified doctors in the United Kingdom (UK) should know. Methods: We developed a 31-item questionnaire covering public health subject areas and expected competencies that medical graduates should know. The questionnaire was then administered to a stratified sample of medically trained individuals across a number of postgraduate schools of public health in the UK. Following administration, a ranking list was developed by subject area and by competency. Results: There was an 85% response rate (69/81). Subject areas ranked highest included epidemiology, health promotion and health protection. Sociology and the history of public health ranked lowest. Competencies perceived as important by the respondents included understanding health inequalities, empowering people about health issues and assessing the effectiveness of healthcare programmes. Discussion: Our study identifies the expected public health subject areas and competencies that newly graduating medical students should know. They provide a context through which to begin addressing concerns over the disparity between these expectations and what is actually taught in medical school, highlighting the continuing need to reframe undergraduate public health education in the UK.

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