Who Will Keep the Public Healthy?
Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century

Editors: Kristine Gebbie, Linda Rosenstock, and Lyla M. Hernandez
Committee on Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century,
Board on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention,
Division of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Institute of Medicine
(IOM), 2002

Available online at:

"........... An effective public health system requires well-educated public
health professionals. Public health professionals receive education and
training in a wide range of disciplines, come from a variety of professions,
work in many types of settings, and are engaged in numerous kinds of
activities, however all public health professionals share a focus on
population-level health.
The committee developed the following definition, used throughout the
report. A public health professional is a person educated in public health
or a related discipline who is employed to improve health through a
population focus. Many institutional settings play important roles in public
health professional education including schools of public health, degree
granting programs in public health, medical schools, schools of nursing,
other professional schools (e.g., law), and local, state and federal public
health agencies. It is important that the education provided by these
programs and institutions is based upon an ecological model of health. An
ecological model assumes that health and well being are affected by
interaction among the multiple determinants of health........"

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